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a. an implement, such as a hammer, saw, or spade, that is used by hand
b. a power-driven instrument; machine tool
2. the cutting part of such an instrument
a. any of the instruments used by a bookbinder to impress a design on a book cover
b. a design so impressed
4. anything used as a means of performing an operation or achieving an end
Any device, instrument, or machine for the performance of an operation, for example, a hammer, saw, lathe, twist drill, drill press, grinder, planer, or screwdriver.
To equip a factory or industry for production by designing, making, and integrating machines, machine tools, and special dies, jigs, and instruments, so as to achieve manufacture and assembly of products on a volume basis at minimum cost.
A program used primarily to create, manipulate, modify, or analyse other programs, such as a compiler or an editor or a cross-referencing program. Opposite: app, operating system.
A Unix application program with a simple, "transparent" (typically text-stream) interface designed specifically to be used in programmed combination with other tools (see filter, plumbing).
(MIT: general to students there) To work; to study (connotes tedium). The TMRC Dictionary defined this as "to set one's brain to the grindstone". See hack.
(MIT) A student who studies too much and hacks too little. MIT's student humour magazine rejoices in the name "Tool and Die".
tool(1) A program used for software development or system maintenance. Virtually any program or utility that helps programmers or users develop applications or maintain their computers can be called a tool. Examples of programming tools are compilers, interpreters, assemblers, 4GLs, editors, debuggers and application generators. See toolkit.
(2) A program that helps the user analyze or search for data. For example, query and report programs are often called query tools and report tools.
(3) An on-screen function in a graphics program; for example, a line draw, circle draw or brush tool.
(4) A software control panel for setting user preferences. See tools menu.
(5) Sometimes, people will call any software a "tool." For example, the phrase, "there aren't any tools to do that job" means that no application is available to perform the required processing.