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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
awl
noun
EXAMPLES FROM CORPUS
▪ An awl is an iron instrument used for piercing leather, but the word has been in punning use since time immemorial.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Awl

Awl \Awl\ ([add]l), n. [OE. aul, awel, al, AS. [=ae]l, awel; akin to Icel. alr, OHG. [=a]la, G. ahle, Lith. yla, Skr. A pointed instrument for piercing small holes, as in leather or wood; used by shoemakers, saddlers, cabinetmakers, etc. The blade is differently shaped and pointed for different uses, as in the brad awl, saddler's awl, shoemaker's awl, etc.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
awl

Old English æl "awl, piercer," from Proto-Germanic *ælo (cognates: Old Norse alr, Dutch aal, Middle Low German al, Old High German äla, German Ahle), which is of uncertain origin. Earliest references are to piercing of the ears, though later it was associated with shoemakers. Through misdivision, frequently written 15c.-17c. as nawl (for an awl; see N).

Wiktionary
awl

n. A pointed instrument for piercing small holes, as in leather or wood; used by shoemakers, saddlers, cabinetmakers, etc. The blade is differently shaped and pointed for different uses, as in the brad awl, saddler's awl, shoemaker's awl, etc.

WordNet
awl

n. a pointed tool for marking surfaces or for punching small holes

Wikipedia
Awl

An awl is a long, pointed spike. It may be a:

  • Bradawl, a tool for making holes in wood
  • Scratch awl, a tool used for marking wood
  • Stitching awl, a tool for piercing holes in leather

Awl, AWL and similar may also refer to:

  • AA-4 'Awl', the NATO reporting name for the Raduga K-9 air-to-air missile
  • Absence Without Leave
  • Academic word list
  • Aircraft warning light
  • Alliance for Workers' Liberty, a Trotskyist group in Britain
  • Arizona Winter League
  • Awl butterflies, the genus Hasora and some members of the subfamily Coeliadinae
  • Awl-flies, the true fly family Xylophagidae
  • The Awl, a current events and culture website
  • Anweisungsliste (a.k.a. Statement List), instruction list programming language for Siemens SIMATIC S7

Usage examples of "awl".

Impoverished Argali could never match such an offer: shovels and awls forged from fine metals, stacks of dried firewood, golden bridle bells, dewhoney and molasses, dried rose-leeks, cobberwheat, tri-grains, and reedflour that poured through your fingers like powdered rubies.

And in nearby Arneis, which bordered Aubinas in the south, along the Bel Awl Ridge, there was further rebellion brewing.

She and Gai bring warthog and kudu hides, porcupine quills, tortoise shells, ostrich eggs, a sharpening stone, an awl, two assagai blades, pots of Bantu clay.

Armed with a scratch awl and a square Dade was at the other end of the timber, his hat shoved back from his forehead while he ran his fingers through his hair as though pondering some weighty problem.

Here the white-face traders were surrounded by husbands and wives who were trading beaver pelts and tanned bison and antelope hides for awls and needles, mirrors and fire strikers, kettles and tin cups and guns.

But awl promise to do soa noa moor, If God spares me to Bessy and them.

Otherwise, we have a machete out in the barn--we hack open bales of hay with it--and scissors and plyers and a leather awl, but a butcher knife .

Kuhmbuhluhners and awl, and they shore fer to hit us, heanh, raht soon.

Rundel and Lennink, bridging the river Walda at Waldrach and the Finger River at Rusma, and then push through the gap of Bel Awl, and they were home.

The deer-antler stylus Theirid used to scratch tallies had been borrowed and resharpened into an awl.

With considerable hilarity on the part of the girls, they passed noisily through the hall, past the big open doorway leading into the enormous barroom, and Awl- THE POODLE DOG 81 on up the heavily carpeted stairs to room number 10, at the head.

On the walls were arrayed hammers, saws, axes, adzes, billhooks, files, awls, and gouges, and wooden boxes of nails were stacked on the floor.

On the rings of a rack made of a nailed leather strap were hung awls, mallets, hammers, irons to cut the vellum, and roughing chisels of bogwood, which were used to smooth the threads as fast as they were employed.

Indoor: discussion in tepid security of unsolved historical and criminal problems: lecture of unexpurgated exotic erotic masterpieces: house carpentry with toolbox containing hammer, awl nails, screws, tintacks, gimlet, tweezers, bullnose plane and turnscrew.

Otherwise, we have a machete out in the barn--we hack open bales of hay with it--and scissors and plyers and a leather awl, but a butcher knife .