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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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1. To pare or cut off the surface of with a small knife; to cut or shape, as a piece of wood held in the hand, with a clasp knife or pocketknife.

2. To edge; to sharpen; to render eager or excited; especially, to excite with liquor; to inebriate. 'In vino veritas. When men are well whittled, their tongues run at random. (Withals)

Origin: Whittled; Whittling.

To cut or shape a piece of wood with am small knife; to cut up a piece of wood with a knife. Dexterity with a pocketknife is a part of a Nantucket education; but I am inclined to think the propensity is national. Americans must and will whittle.