from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An awl with a beveled tip, used to make holes in wood for brads or screws.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An awl for making holes, especially in wood to take screws.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From brad + awl.


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  • Suiting the action to the word, he thrust her rather suddenly and prematurely into a chair, and designing to reassure her by a little harmless jocularity, such as is adapted to please and fascinate the sex, converted his right forefinger into an ideal bradawl or gimlet, and made as though he would screw the same into her side — whereat Miss Miggs shrieked again, and evinced symptoms of faintness.

    Barnaby Rudge

  • ‘I wish I wos behind him vith a bradawl,’ muttered the long one.

    The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club

  • There was not a partition that he did not tap, nor a block of chimneys that he did not narrowly examine; all water-pipes, flues, cisterns, and sewers underwent an investigation; he even descended, in the care of his friend, so far as to bore sundry boards in the floors with a bradawl.

    Barchester Towers

  • Found the dip in the rock and wrapped the chisel and the bradawl in the rag and left them there.


  • I slid the bradawl along the floor, tight against the boards.


  • Then he put the bent bradawl next to them, and the sharpened chisel.


  • I put the bent spike of the bradawl in like a key and felt for the tumblers.


  • I knelt down and used the bradawl on the tumblers again.


  • Alfred carried the tools they would use to make a new home somewhere: an ax, an adz, a saw, a small hammer, a bradawl for making holes in leather and wood, and a spade.

    The Pillars of the Earth

  • The wooden door was open, and in the doorway a craftsman sat with a hammer in his right hand and a bradawl, a small metal tool with a sharp point, in his left.

    The Pillars of the Earth


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