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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle Dutch drillen (bore, move in a circle)


drill (third-person singular simple present drills, present participle drilling, simple past and past participle drilled)

  1. (transitive) To create (a hole) by removing material with a drill (tool).
    Drill a small hole to start the screw in the right direction.
  2. (intransitive) To practice, especially in a military context.
    They drilled daily to learn the routine exactly.
  3. (ergative) To cause to drill (practice); to train in military arts.
    The sergeant was up by 6:00 every morning, drilling his troops.
    • Macaulay
      He [Frederic the Great] drilled his people, as he drilled his grenadiers.
  4. (transitive) To repeat an idea frequently in order to encourage someone to remember it.
    The instructor drilled into us the importance of reading the instructions.
  5. (intransitive) To investigate or examine something in more detail or at a different level
    Drill deeper and you may find the underlying assumptions faulty.
  6. (transitive) To hit or kick with a lot of power.
    • 2006, Joe Coon, The Perfect Game,
      He did get their attention when he drilled the ball dead center into the hole for an opening birdie.
    • 2007, Craig Cowell, Muddy Sunday,
      Without compromising he drilled the ball home, leaving Dynamos' ill-fated keeper diving for fresh air.
    • 2010 December 29, Chris Whyatt, “Chelsea 1 - 0 Bolton”, BBC:
      Bolton were then just inches from taking the lead, but the dangerous-looking Taylor drilled just wide after picking up a loose ball following Jose Bosingwa's poor attempted clearance.
  7. (slang, vulgar) To have sexual intercourse with; to penetrate.
    Is this going to take long? I've got a hot date to drill the flautist at the symphony tonight. - Brian Griffin, Family Guy
  8. (transitive) To cause to flow in drills or rills or by trickling; to drain by trickling.
    waters drilled through a sandy stratum
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Thomson to this entry?)
  9. (transitive) To sow (seeds) by dribbling them along a furrow or in a row.
  10. (transitive, obsolete) To entice or allure; to decoy; with on.
    • Addison
      She drilled him on to five-and-fifty, and will drop him in his old age []
  11. (transitive, obsolete) To cause to slip or waste away by degrees.
    • Jonathan Swift
      This accident hath drilled away the whole summer.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


drill (plural drills)

a battery-powered electric drill (the tool)
  1. A tool used to remove material so as to create a hole, typically by plunging a rotating cutting bit into a stationary workpiece.
    Wear safety glasses when operating an electric drill.
  2. The portion of a drilling tool that drives the bit.
    Use a drill with a wire brush to remove any rust or buildup.
  3. An agricultural implement for making holes for sowing seed, and sometimes so formed as to contain seeds and drop them into the hole made.
  4. A light furrow or channel made to put seed into, when sowing.
  5. A row of seed sown in a furrow.
  6. An activity done as an exercise or practice (especially a military exercise).
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 7, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      “[…] if you call my duds a ‘livery’ again there'll be trouble. It's bad enough to go around togged out like a life saver on a drill day, but I can stand that 'cause I'm paid for it. What I won't stand is to have them togs called a livery. […]”
    Regular fire drills can ensure that everyone knows how to exit safely in an emergency.
  7. (obsolete) A small trickling stream; a rill.
    • Sandys
      Springs through the pleasant meadows pour their drills.
  8. Any of several molluscs, of the genus Urosalpinx, that drill holes in the shells of other animals.
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Etymology 2[edit]

Mandrillus leucophaeus

Probably of African origin; compare mandrill.


drill (plural drills)

  1. An Old World monkey of West Africa, Mandrillus leucophaeus, similar in appearance to the mandrill, but lacking the colorful face.

External links[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Abbreviation of drilling.


drill (plural drills)

  1. A strong, durable cotton fabric with a strong bias (diagonal) in the weave.



English drill.


drill m (plural drills)

  1. drill (tool)

Related terms[edit]