whittle

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whittled

slang Drunk. Try not to get too whittled, OK? You have a big day tomorrow.
See also: whittle

whittle down

To reduce the size or scope of something incrementally by removing small parts. The phrase alludes to whittling wood, in which small bits are carved off with a knife. A noun or pronoun can be used between "whittle" and "down." We're not going to make any major cuts, but we do need to whittle down the budget by reducing costs here and there. I think you need to whittle down your thesis to a more concise point. Right now it's a little too broad. Right now your speech is just a little long. Do you think you can whittle it down a bit?
See also: down, whittle

whittle away

1. To carve small sections away from something, especially a piece of wood continuously or at length. My grandfather used to sit in his armchair with a hunk of wood and his pocket knife, whittling away for hours at a time.
2. To carve small sections away from something, especially a piece of wood, to in order to shape it or make it smaller. A noun or pronoun can be used between "whittle" and "down." We used to sit on our back porch and whittle away blocks of soap into the shapes of tiny animals. I had to keep whittling the edge of the door away until it finally fit into the frame properly.
3. To reduce or eliminate the size, scope, or strength of something by incrementally removing small parts. A noun or pronoun can be used between "whittle" and "down." If they keep whittling away our budget like this, our department will have to close down before too long. The president's administration continued to whittle away the powers of congress and the courts until he had complete control of the country. Having to write a thesis this length was daunting, but I've just whittled it away every day for the last three months.
See also: away, whittle

whittle away at (something)

1. To carve small sections away from something, especially a piece of wood, to in order to shape it or make it smaller. We used to sit on our back porch and whittle away at blocks of soap until they were in the shapes of tiny animals. I had to keep whittling away at the edge of the door until it fit into the frame properly.
2. To reduce or eliminate the size, scope, or strength of something by incrementally removing small parts. If they keep whittling away at our budget like this, our department will have to close down before too long. The president's administration continued to whittle away at the powers of congress and the courts until he had complete control of the country. Having to write a thesis this length was daunting, but I've just whittled away at it every day for the last three months.
See also: away, whittle

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

v.
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

v.
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

whittled

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 ?
Drawn from the pages of Woodcarving Illustrated magazine by its editorial board, "Complete Starter Guide to Whittling: 24 Easy Projects You Can Make in a Weekend" showcases a series of easy-to-make whittling projects.
First published in 1930, The Art of Whittling is a classic introduction to the hobby of woodcrafting through whittling.