• WordNet 3.6
    • v whittle cut small bits or pare shavings from "whittle a piece of wood"
    • n Whittle English aeronautical engineer who invented the jet aircraft engine (1907-1996)
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Whittle A grayish, coarse double blanket worn by countrywomen, in the west of England, over the shoulders, like a cloak or shawl.
    • n Whittle A knife; esp., a pocket, sheath, or clasp knife. "A butcher's whittle .""Rude whittles .""He wore a Sheffield whittle in his hose."
    • v. i Whittle To cut or shape a piece of wood with am small knife; to cut up a piece of wood with a knife. "Dexterity with a pocketknife is a part of a Nantucket education; but I am inclined to think the propensity is national. Americans must and will whittle ."
    • Whittle To edge; to sharpen; to render eager or excited; esp., to excite with liquor; to inebriate. "“In vino veritas.” When men are well whittled , their tongues run at random."
    • Whittle To pare or cut off the surface of with a small knife; to cut or shape, as a piece of wood held in the hand, with a clasp knife or pocketknife.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n whittle Originally, a blanket; later, a coarse shaggy mantle or woolen shawl worn by West-country women in England.
    • n whittle A knife; especially, a large knife, as a butcher's knife or one carried in the girdle.
    • whittle To cut or dress with a knife; form with a whittle or knife: as, to whittle a stick.
    • whittle To pare, or reduce by paring, literally or figuratively.
    • whittle To intoxicate; make tipsy or drunk.
    • whittle To cut wood with a pocket-knife, either aimlessly or with the intention of forming something; use a pocket-knife in cutting wood or shaping wooden things.
    • whittle To confess at the gallows.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Whittle hwit′l to pare or cut with a knife: to cut to an edge
    • v.i Whittle to cut wood aimlessly:
    • n Whittle a small pocket-knife
    • n Whittle hwit′l (prov.) a woollen shawl: a blanket.
    • v.i Whittle (obs. slang) to confess at the gallows
    • ***


  • Raymond Hull
    Raymond Hull
    “He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.”
  • Charles M. Schwab
    “A man who trims himself to suit everybody will soon whittle himself away.”
  • Buddha
    “As the Fletcher whittles and makes straight his arrows, so the master directs his straying thoughts.”
  • Henry David Thoreau
    “Having each some shingles of thought well dried, we sat and whittled them.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
AS. hwītel, from hwit, white; akin to Icel. hvītill, a white bed cover. See White


In literature:

His treatment was to whittle pine plugs and insert them in the nostrils.
"Old Rail Fence Corners" by Various
Tom suspended his whittling for a reply.
"Blazed Trail Stories" by Stewart Edward White
With a great labourer's knife in her hand, she was solemnly whittling a piece of wood.
"The Choice of Life" by Georgette Leblanc
A new supply of whittled wooden "tablets" on which to write lay ready to his hand.
"As It Was in the Beginning" by Philip Verrill Mighels
The door was strong and thick but he believed that if he attacked the wood vigorously he might be able to whittle out the lock.
"The Rainy Day Railroad War" by Holman Day
Latisan did not turn; he kept on whittling.
"Joan of Arc of the North Woods" by Holman Day
The father is setting fresh teeth in a wool-card, while the boys are whittling hand-reels and loom-spools.
"Home Life in Colonial Days" by Alice Morse Earle
One was whittling with a curved knife.
"The False Chevalier" by William Douw Lighthall
Laurie and Whittle's chart of it is tolerably correct.
"The Expedition to Borneo of H.M.S. Dido" by Henry Keppel
A yankee shewn into a room to await the arrival of another, has been known to whittle away nearly the whole of the mantle-piece.
"Diary in America, Series One" by Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)

In poetry:

He's whittling by St. Mary's Falls,
Upon his loaded wain;
He's measuring o'er the Pictured Rocks,
With eager eyes of gain.
"On Receiving An Eagle's Quill From Lake Superior" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Oh, let's go out to the county fair
And breathe the balmy country air,
And whittle a stick and look at the hosses,
Discuss the farmer's profit and losses.
"The County Fair" by Edwin Carty Ranck
"Then hewed and whacked and whittled I;
The wife, the girls and Kris took fire;
They spun, sewed, cut, — till by and by
We made, at home, my pack entire!"
"The Hard Times In Elfland [A Story of Christmas Eve]" by Sidney Lanier
My answers are inadequate
To those demanding day and date
And ever set a tiny shock
Through strangers asking what's o'clock;
Whose days are spent in whittling rhyme-
What's time to her, or she to Time?
"Daylight Saving" by Dorothy Parker
And you also follow him 'neath Phrygian pine shade:
Thyrsis and Daphnis upon whittled reeds,
And how ten sins can corrupt young maidens;
Kids for a bribe and pressed udders,
Happy selling poor loves for cheap apples.
"Homage To Sextus Propertius - XII" by Ezra Pound
And my thoughts was as rebellious as the folks was good and kind
When Brown and Mary married--Railly must 'a' been my MIND
Was kind o' out o' kilter!--fer I hated Brown, you see,
Worse'n PIZEN--and the feller whittled crutches out fer ME--
"Farmer Whipple--Bachelor" by James Whitcomb Riley

In news:

They also agree something must be done eventually to whittle the nation's debt, and that will mean budget restraints in addition to slowing the growth of entitlement programs such as Medicare.
Try this workout every other day and eat right, and in a month you'll whittle your waistline, define those arms, shrink your backside, and shed about 8 pounds.
The Spurs waived free agent forward Tyler Wilkerson on Thursday, whittling their camp roster to 18.
The competition is THICK for video games next year and I had an incredibly tough time whittling my list down to just 5 for you to watch in 2011.
What buildings stood before Whittle Communications absorbed two city blocks.
Downtown Knoxville's Whittle Uprising .
An ambitious and controversial entrepreneur, Chris Whittle took the educational establishment by storm in 1992 when he founded Edison Schools Inc (originally the Edison Project), a for-profit company specializing in public school management.
Bill and Cathy Whittle of Luray, Va.
Schools Aim to Whittle Proficiency Gap.
Ricky Whittle talks 'Single Ladies' and sexiness.
'Single Ladies' newcomer Ricky Whittle describes his perfect date.
Big Bear Chamber of Commerce business networking (alcohol free) at Camp Whittle , 30171 Rim of the World Drive, Fawnskin, CA (Map).
Whittle wins District 4 race.
Case studies and applications involving Brook & Whittle .
VPR's Susan Keese gets a lesson on how to whittle in this episode of Vermont Edition's Summer School series.

In science:

Kung’s approach is generalized by Whittle , who extends duality to kpolymatroids, where the dual rank function satisfies f ∗ (A) = k |A|+ f (S −A)− f (S ).
On Brylawski's generalized duality
Whittle, “Duality in polymatroids and set functions,” Combin.
On Brylawski's generalized duality
Instead of using the true likelihood, which is complicated even for a Gaussian time series, Whittle [1957] proposed using an approximate likelihood.
MCMC-free adaptive Bayesian procedures using random series prior
Contiguity of the Whittle measure for a Gaussian time series.
MCMC-free adaptive Bayesian procedures using random series prior
Seyferts (Nelson & Whittle 1996), indicating that these differences may not be due to a systematic acceleration of the [O III]-emitting gas by the radio source.
Supermassive Black Holes in Active Galactic Nuclei. II. Calibration of the M-sigma Relationship for AGNs