Etymology: Middle English, from Old English tōl; akin to Old English tawian to prepare for use — more at taw
Date: before 12th century
a. a handheld device that aids in accomplishing a task
(1) the cutting or shaping part in a machine or machine tool
(2) a machine for shaping metal ; machine tool
a. something (as an instrument or apparatus) used in performing an operation or necessary in the practice of a vocation or profession <a scholar's books are his tools> b. an element of a computer program (as a graphics application) that activates and controls a particular function <a drawing tool> c. a means to an end <a book's cover can be a marketing tool> d. often vulgar penis 3. one that is used or manipulated by another 4. plural natural ability <has all the tools to be a great pitcher> Synonyms: see implement II. verb Date: 1812 transitive verb 1. a. to cause (a vehicle) to go ; drive b. to convey in a vehicle 2. to shape, form, or finish with a tool; especially to letter or ornament (as leather or gold) by means of hand tools 3. to equip (as a plant or industry) with tools, machines, and instruments for production intransitive verb 1. drive, ride 2. to equip a plant or industry with the means (as machines, machine tools, and instruments) of production — often used with up III. noun Date: 1881 a design (as on the binding of a book) made by tooling
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.