Definition of "whittle" []

  • To cut small bits or pare shavings from (a piece of wood). (verb-transitive)
  • To fashion or shape in this way: whittle a toy boat. (verb-transitive)
  • To reduce or eliminate gradually, as if by whittling with a knife: whittled down the debt by making small payments. (verb-transitive)
  • To cut or shape wood with a knife. (verb-intransitive)
  • To cut or shave strips or pieces from (wood, a stick, etc), esp with a knife (verb)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • To make or shape by paring or shaving (verb)
  • To reduce, destroy, or wear away gradually (verb)
  • To complain or worry about something continually (verb)
  • A knife, esp a large one (noun) (c) HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2016

Use "whittle" in a sentence
  • "Entering series number six, the programme will once again whittle down a select few hopefuls from hundreds of thousands and give them the belief they’ll win an elusive record deal."
  • "O'NEIL: Well, 120 hours of rehearsal footage was used to make two hours, like, yes, you could kind of whittle it down here."
  • "But for the networks, the PBS Lehrer News Hour included, it was not newsworthy, for certainly it would have cast light on the power of networks to "whittle" down the field of candidates according to their liking."