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A gardening trowel


From Middle English truel, from Middle French truelle, from Late Latin truella, from Classical Latin trulla, the diminutive of trua 'ladle'.


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trowel ‎(plural trowels)

  1. A mason’s tool, used in spreading and dressing mortar, and breaking bricks to shape them.
  2. A gardener’s tool, shaped like a scoop, used in taking up plants, stirring soil etc.
    I need to dig a hole for these begonias; would you pass me that trowel?
  3. A tool used for smoothing a mold.

Derived terms[edit]



trowel ‎(third-person singular simple present trowels, present participle troweling or trowelling, simple past and past participle troweled or trowelled)

  1. (transitive) To apply a substance with a trowel.
    He troweled the coarse mix with a twist, leaving a pattern of arcs.
  2. (figuratively) To apply something heavily or unsubtly.
    • 2014, Steve Rose, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: a primate scream - first look review", The Guardian, 1 July 2014:
      The whole Planet of the Apes set-up has been ripe for metaphor – from slavery and Afro-American revolution to European conquest of the Americas, even the war on terror. But mercifully, there's no big subtext being troweled on here.