Meaning of PENCIL in English

I. ˈpen(t)sə̇l noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English pensel, pencel, from Middle French pincel, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin penicellus, from Latin penicillus brush, pencil, literally, little tail, diminutive of penis tail, penis — more at penis

1. : a brush of hair or bristles used to lay on colors ; especially : a small brush for fine art work

2. : the individual style or technique of an artist or descriptive writer

3. : a tufted growth (as of hair or feathers)


a. : an implement for writing, drawing, or marking made of or containing a slender rod or strip of a solid marking substance:

(1) : a stick of marking substance (as chalk, slate) often encased in paper — see grease pencil

(2) : a wooden rod containing a core of marking substance exposed at one end by sharpening and often having an eraser on the other end

corrected with a red pencil

a pencil sketch

— see lead pencil

(3) : a mechanical device consisting of a cylinder of metal or plastic containing a lead projected by means of a screw

b. : a small medicated or cosmetic roll or stick for local applications

a menthol pencil

c. : a writing or marking device resembling a pencil that uses another means of marking

etched by a hot electric pencil


a. : an aggregate of rays of light or other radiation especially when diverging from or converging to a point

b. : the lines passing through a given point and lying on a plane

6. : something long and thin like a pencil

the flashlight sent a long, white pencil of illumination stabbing through the darkness — Erle Stanley Gardner

7. : pencil diamond

8. : graphite used as the marking substance in pencils

written in pencil rather than in ink

a page half typewritten and half pencil

II. verb

( penciled or pencilled ; penciled or pencilled ; penciling or pencilling -s(ə̇)liŋ ; pencils )

transitive verb


a. : to paint, draw, shade, write, or mark with or as if with a pencil

a typewritten manuscript with corrections penciled in

: sketch

pencil in a cartoon with rapid strokes

b. : to make a tentative plan of : write (as an assignment) subject to change

had been penciled in for the lead — Budd Schulberg

2. : to treat (as a wound) by means of a medicated pencil

intransitive verb

: to take the shape of a pencil : form into pencils

rays of light penciling through the darkness

the pale smoke from the cottage chimneys pencil up — William Sansom


variant of pencel

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.