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1. A device, such as a saw, shovel, or drill, used to perform or facilitate manual or mechanical work.
a. A machine, such as a lathe, used to cut and shape machine parts or other objects.
b. The cutting part of such a machine.
3. Something regarded as necessary to the carrying out of one's occupation or profession: Words are the tools of our trade.
4. Something used in the performance of an operation; an instrument: "Modern democracies have the fiscal and monetary tools ... to end chronic slumps and galloping inflations" (Paul A. Samuelson).
5. Vulgar Slang The penis.
6. A person used to carry out the designs of another; a dupe.
a. A bookbinder's hand stamp.
b. A design impressed on a book cover by such a stamp.
8. Computers A utility program.
v. tooled, tool·ing, tools
1. To form, work, or decorate with a tool.
2. To ornament (a book cover) with a bookbinder's tool.
3. Slang To drive (a vehicle): tooled the car at 80 miles an hour.
1. To work with a tool.
2. Slang To drive or ride in a vehicle: tooled up and down the roads.
Phrasal Verb:
tool up
To provide an industry or a factory with machinery and tools suitable for a particular job.

[Middle English, from Old English tōl, possibly from Old Norse.]


The following are general words used to refer to objects or pieces of equipment that you use to help you to do a particular kind of job:

1. 'tool'

A tool is usually a simple object that you use to make, shape, or mend something, for example a hammer, saw, spade, or spanner.

Remember to put all your tools away safely.
...a glass-cutting tool.

Tools that operate by electricity are called power tools.

Keep power tools out of children's reach.

Other things which are used to achieve something can also be referred to as tools. This is a fairly formal use.

Textbooks became the essential tools of the teacher.
2. 'implement'

An implement is a simple tool used for digging or cooking. Implement is a formal word.

The earliest wooden implements known are spears, clubs and sharpened sticks, possibly used for digging.
Don't use metal implements such as spoons when using non-stick pans.
3. 'instrument'

An instrument is an object used for a scientific or medical purpose, or for measuring something.

...surgical and dental instruments.

A musical instrument is an object from which music is produced, for example a violin, a drum, or a flute.

The drum is one of the oldest musical instruments.
4. 'utensil'

A utensil is usually a container or small object used for cooking, such as a saucepan or a spoon. Utensil is a formal word.

Students usually provide their own crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils and bedding.
5. 'device' and 'gadget'

A device or gadget is usually a fairly small object, often a complicated or unusual one. Some devices and gadgets are powered by electricity. Gadget is an informal word, and is often used showing disapproval.

...a tiny 'pacemaker' -- a device that sends pulses of electricity to activate the heart.
A dangerous new gadget will make it easy for bosses to spy on their staff.
6. 'machine'

A machine is a piece of equipment which uses electricity or some other form of power to perform a task. It can be quite large.

...when Walter Hunt and Elias Howe invented the sewing machine.
Employers have to provide workplaces, machines and methods of work that are safe.
7. 'appliance'

An appliance is usually a machine that is used in people's homes, such as a washing machine or cooker. Appliance is a formal word.

...household appliances.
References in classic literature ?
Some- times he was so angry that, although the cat had disappeared, he hurled sticks, bits of broken glass, and even some of the tools of his trade about.
That plotter Waddington, or some of his tools, dropped a bomb where it might have done us some injury, but Professor Bumper, who was a fellow passenger, on his way to South America to look for the lost city of Pelone, calmly picked up the bomb, plucked out the fuse, and saved us from bad injuries, if not death.
There was a little storeroom, too, with a window, where they kept guns and saddles and tools, and old coats and boots.
I'll have it ready in little or no time," he said, bustling and packing away his tools.
A book, face downward, on the table, a roll of manuscript, a half-written sheet, a newspaper, some tools of his present occupation, and several rejected daguerreotypes, conveyed an impression as if he were close at hand.
The room itself is cobwebbed, and dingy with old paint; its floor is strewn with grey sand, in a fashion that has elsewhere fallen into long disuse; and it is easy to conclude, from the general slovenliness of the place, that this is a sanctuary into which womankind, with her tools of magic, the broom and mop, has very infrequent access.
To accomplish his object Ahab must use tools; and of all tools used in the shadow of the moon, men are most apt to get out of order.
Slabs of ivory, leather straps, pads, screws, and various tools of all sorts lying about the bench.
At the outset he had to pay for his digging tools, and also to buy a pair of heavy boots, since his shoes were falling to pieces, and a flannel shirt, since the one he had worn all summer was in shreds.
Well," said the smith, feeling among his tools, "them plantations down thar, stranger, an't jest the place a Kentuck nigger wants to go to; they dies thar tol'able fast, don't they?
They had pack-mules along, and had brought everything I needed -- tools, pump, lead pipe, Greek fire, sheaves of big rockets, roman candles, colored fire sprays, electric apparatus, and a lot of sundries -- everything necessary for the stateliest kind of a miracle.
He required a good deal of work to be done, but gave us good tools with which to work.

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