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Plastic and metal dowels

Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English dule, of uncertain origin. Compare French douelle, douille, from Middle French douille, from Old French doelle (the hollow part of a tool where the handle is fixed), from Old Frankish *dulja (hollow tube, pipe), from Proto-Germanic *dulją (pipe), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰel- (curvature, hollow). Alternate etymology derives Middle English dule, from Middle Low German dovel (plug, tap), related to German Döbel (chub).



dowel (plural dowels)

  1. A pin, or block, of wood or metal, fitting into holes in the abutting portions of two pieces, and being partly in one piece and partly in the other, to keep them in their proper relative position.
  2. A wooden rod, as one to make short pins from.
    • 2006, Steven Caney, Lauren House, Steven Caney's Ultimate Building Book, page 264:
      This twenty-four-piece starter set uses twelve thirty-six-inch-long dowels (or nine forty-eight-inch dowels) cut to these rod lengths. Lay out the cuts so you use the entire length of each dowel without any leftover scraps.
  3. (construction) A piece of wood or similar material fitted into a surface not suitable for fastening so that other pieces may be fastened to it.

Derived termsEdit

Coordinate termsEdit


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dowel (third-person singular simple present dowels, present participle dowelling or doweling, simple past and past participle dowelled or doweled)

  1. (transitive) To fasten together with dowels.
  2. (transitive) To furnish with dowels.
    A cooper dowels pieces for the head of a cask.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for dowel in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)