tool

Definitions

General English

General Science

  • noun an object that is designed to help in carrying out particular task
  • noun in a graphical user interface, a function accessed from an icon in a toolbar

Commerce

  • noun an instrument used for doing manual work, e.g. a hammer or screwdriver

Computing

  • noun a function accessed from an icon in a toolbar, e.g. a circle-draw option

Electronics

  • A device, machine, system, or object which helps facilitate or complete manual or mechanical work.
  • A program or utility that assists in the development, analysis, testing, and maintenance of software. Such tools include compilers, decompilers, debuggers, editors, and the like. Also called software tool.
  • One of the functions, features, or the like, available for use via a toolbar.

Publishing

  • noun a metal instrument which is used to press designs onto the case of a book
  • verb to make a design on the case of a book by pressing on the case with a tool which has been heated

Slang

  • noun the penis. The notion of the male member as an implement is very ancient. The word tool itself appeared in Middle English and by the 16th century had been recorded as a sexual metaphor. It was at first an acceptable colloquialism, but since the beginning of the 19th century has been considered vulgar.
  • noun a fool. Like many other words designating the male member, tool has the secondary meaning of a stupid (male) person. In the US since 2000 the word has also denoted an inept, unpopular or unpleasant male.
  • noun a weapon. This usage is now rare, but has given rise to the standard underworld and police jargon expression tooled-up (armed with firearms) in British English.

Origin & History of “tool”

A tool is etymologically an implement used to ‘make’ something. It came from a prehistoric Germanic *tōwlam. this was derived from a base *tōw-, *taw-, which produced a variety of other words with the general sense ‘make, prepare, do’ (most of them have now died out, but survivors include Dutch touwen and English taw ‘make leather’).
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