\ \ [OE] The Old English form, æl, came from a hypothetical Germanic base *āl-, which had a probable relative in Sanskrit ārā. The compound bradawl was formed in the 19th century using the term bradthin flat nail’, which came originally from Old Norse broddrspike’. Awls, tools for making holes to take nails, are part of the shoemaker’s traditional set of implements: hence the apparently quite recent, early 20thcentury rhyming slang cobbler’s awls (cobblers for short) for ‘balls’.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Awl — is a long pointed spike. It may be a: *Scratch awl, a tool with a long pointed spike used for marking wood. *Stitching awl, a tool used by leatherworkers, such as cobblers (shoemakers), to pierce holes in leather *Bradawl, a tool for making holes …   Wikipedia

  • Awl — ([add]l), n. [OE. aul, awel, al, AS. [=ae]l, awel; akin to Icel. alr, OHG. [=a]la, G. ahle, Lith. yla, Skr. [=a]r[=a].] A pointed instrument for piercing small holes, as in leather or wood; used by shoemakers, saddlers, cabinetmakers, etc. The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • awl — (n.) O.E. æl awl, piercer, from P.Gmc. *ælo (Cf. O.N. alr, Du. aal, M.L.G. al, O.H.G. äla, Ger. Ahle), of uncertain origin. Earliest references are to piercing of the ears, though later it was associated with shoemakers. Through misdivision,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • awl — awl; AWL; awl·wort; …   English syllables

  • awl — /awl/, n. a pointed instrument for piercing small holes in leather, wood, etc. [bef. 900; ME al, eal, aul, OE al, eal, ael; c. ON alr; akin to ME el, OE ael, OHG ala (G Ahle), Skt ára] * * * …   Universalium

  • awl — [o:l US o:l] n [: Old English; Origin: Al] a pointed tool for making holes in leather …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • awl — [ ɔl ] noun count a tool used for making small holes in wood and leather, consisting of a wooden handle and a thin sharp metal point …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • awl — ► NOUN ▪ a small pointed tool used for piercing holes. ORIGIN Old English …   English terms dictionary

  • awl — [ôl] n. [earlier (16th c.) aule < ME alle < OE æl < IE base * əlā (> ON alr), * ēlā (> Sans āra)] a small, pointed tool for making holes in wood, leather, etc …   English World dictionary

  • awl — noun /ɔːl/ A pointed instrument for piercing small holes, as in leather or wood; used by shoemakers, saddlers, cabinetmakers, etc. The blade is differently shaped and pointed for different uses, as in the brad awl, saddlers awl, shoemakers awl,… …   Wiktionary

  • AWL — The abbreviation AWL can refer to *Alliance for Workers Liberty *AWL (programming language) *Academic word list …   Wikipedia

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