Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to whittle: Frank Whittle, whittle down

whittle at something

to cut or carve at something. He just sat there, whittling at a chunk of wood. I am not carving anything, I am just whittling at some wood.
See also: whittle

whittle someone down to size

Fig. to reduce someone's ego; to cause someone to have better, more respectful behavior. (Fig. on whittle something down (to size).) After a few days at camp, the counselors had whittled young Walter down to size. It took some doing, but they whittled him down to size.
See also: down, size, whittle

whittle something away

to cut or carve something away. The carver whittled the wood away until only a small figure was left. He whittled away the wood.
See also: away, whittle

whittle something down (to size)

 and whittle something down
to cut or diminish something to a more appropriate size or to the proper size. I whittled the peg down to size and it fit in the hole perfectly. You are going to have to whittle down expenses.
See also: down, whittle

whittle something out of something

to carve something out of something. The young man whittled a small boat out of wood. Can you whittle an elephant out of this chunk of wood?
See also: of, out, whittle

whittle away

1. To undermine, reduce, or weaken something by small increments until completely gone or useless: The long climb up the mountain whittled away his strength. We whittled their lead away with a series of small gains.
2. To weaken or be gradually reduced by small increments: My courage whittled away with each step forward I took.
3. To eliminate something by whittling it: The carpenter whittled the excess wood away. The sculptor whittled away the clay until a perfect form emerged.
4. To whittle continuously: They whittled away until they had finished carving their sticks into spoons.
See also: away, whittle

whittle down

1. To reduce the size of some piece of wood by cutting small bits or paring shavings: I whittled down the pencil's tip to expose more lead. I bit nervously on my pencil until I had whittled it down to nothing.
2. To reduce something gradually, as if by whittling with a knife: The couple whittled down their debt by making small payments. We whittled the other team's lead down to one point with a series of small gains.
See also: down, whittle


mod. alcohol intoxicated; filled with liquor. (see also cut.) Fred’s whittled again and shouldn’t drive home.
See also: whittle
References in periodicals archive ?
MAVERICK Whittle pounds the streets of Fenwick, Ayrshire.
Now the Whittles have also opened Peters Outlet - creating four jobs into the bargain - to sell value-for-money fashions, handbags and shoes in another unit in the Packhorse Centre.
But there are some within the club who feel the Trust deliberately stepped over the line by making public their own minutes, something Whittle and his organisation categorically deny.
My concern as an environmentalist is the impact on Cuban marine life," Whittle told us.
Whittle Jones North East was founded in 1993 following Northern Trust's expansion in the region, and today manages over 2.
Police were called to the railway line near North Road, in Atherton, where Mr Whittle was struck by a Northern Rail train heading to Atherton station.
Brook & Whittle, founded in 1996, has two facilities specializing in the manufacture of pressure sensitive labels and packaging for many of the nation's leading brands.
The company chose Williams Whittle based on the strategic vision provided by Rob Whittle and Howard Bomstein as well as the outstanding campaigns created by Rich Park and media strategies developed by Wendy Weaver", added Thomas J.
Whittle was giving a lift to ex-girlfriend and former co-star Carley Stenson when the incident occurred near Liverpool's Parr Street studios.
ACTOR and Strictly Come Dancing star Ricky Whittle deliberately knocked a photographer down with his car "in frustration", a court has heard.
Summary: Underdog Chris Hollins has won Strictly Come Dancing after beating favourite Ricky Whittle.
35pm NOBODY in the world could make a case for Chris Hollins being a better dancer than Ricky Whittle, writes Phil Agius.
Selling off their wordly possessions in garage sale to start anew in India, the Whittle family is also determined to save the tiger along the way.
lt;p>And with the biggest cost for a partner engaging with a new vendor coming around certifications and training, Whittle said the fast-tracking removes a major investment barrier for Nortel partners looking to make the jump, making it a faster and less costly process.
A FAILED events firm run by former Olympic runner Brian Whittle is being pulled back from liquidation.