To whittle something is to reduce it gradually or to make it smaller and weaker. You might whittle down a tree with a saw, or you might whittle away at your argument with a friend.

  • He whittled the stick down to a fraction of its original size.

  • She whittled away at the argument until it was resolved.

Definition of whittle


cut small bits or pare shavings from




English aeronautical engineer who invented the jet aircraft engine (1907-1996)


frank whittle, sir frank whittle

Nearby Words

whittle Pronunciation in a video

Example Sentences for whittle

  • 1

    This is whittled by the carpenter.

  • 2

    The sculpture is whittled by a famous sculptor.

  • 3

    Whittle is in the centre of the back row.

  • 4

    That should whittle the list down nicely.

  • 5

    He whittles a log and makes a toy.

  • 6

    Grandpa whittled the wood to make a doll.

  • 7

    I tried to whittle the wood to make a pensil.

  • 8

    She whittles an apple to decorate her dish.

  • 9

    Among the verbs similarly preserved are to whittle, to wilt and to approbate.

  • 10

    Multiple drafts of the budget may be required to whittle down costs.