Green’s Dictionary of Slang

tool v.

1. of a man, to have sexual intercourse; thus tooling n.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 1249/2: ca. 1750–1890.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 166: Who said anything about me going up there just for the sake of doing a bit of stray tooling.
[UK]Indep. 10 Sept. 22/1: Terms for sex [in Australia] were ‘rooting’, ‘tooling’, ‘poking’, ‘stabbing’ or ‘meat injection.’.

2. to move, to drive.

(a) (also towl) to drive a mail coach or any other horse-drawn vehicle.

[UK]Sporting Mag. Oct. 10/2: She intends to tool the Liverpool expedition to-morrow night.
[UK]Egan Anecdotes of the Turf, the Chase etc. 279: He kept the prads well together, and tooled them over the river.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 8: What a turn out! a prince might not have been ashamed to tool her.
[UK]Lytton Caxtons II Pt xiii 325: He [...] had replied with conscious pride, ‘That he could tool a coach!’.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 29 Nov. 3/3: He [...] was nearly run over by an omnibus, tooled by Mr William Shipman.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Young Tom Hall (1926) 231: [He] didn’t know that there would be any great harm in letting Captain Guineapg towl over Barkinside Moor.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) I 129: He wos a young gent as had much himproved hisself since he tooled him up to the ’Varsity with his guvnor.
[UK]R. Nicholson Rogue’s Progress (1966) 37: Can we ever forget the prime team he tooled from London to Brighton.
[UK]Story of a Lancashire Thief 11: I’ve heard him talk slang like a professional. Once I heard him telling two chums of his about tooling his drag to the Derby; in fact he knew all about traps, and casks, and drags, and rounders.
[Aus]Hamilton Spectator (Vic.) 7 Jan. 1/7: If he possesses a vehicle, it is invariably a ‘trap,’ or ‘drag;’ and he no longer drives: he ‘tools it’.
[US]N.S. Dodge ‘Vagrants and Vagrancy’ in Appleton’s Journal (N.Y.) 6 Sept. 308: Go, for a drink, is cant; inexpressibles, for trousers, is slang; a clergyman’s seals (converts) is cant; [...] to tool a dwag down to the Derby, is cant.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Little Mr. Bouncer 99: ‘Now, gentlemen, the coach is ready’ [...] ‘Are you going to tool the tits?’ asked little Mr. Bouncer.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Mar. 10/2: The landlord […] appeared much edified by a narrative by Martisson of how he had ‘tooled’ a mail-phaeton down to Botony.
[UK]A. Binstead Houndsditch Day by Day 79: Whimblett primus, tooling a four-in-hand team of well-matched, hog-maned unicorns.
D. Runyon ’A Ballad of Mule’ in Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ) 17 Dec. 16/7: I’ve drove a borax wagon with forty mules in front; / I’ve tooled them through Mizzoury mud for years.
[UK](con. 1835–40) P. Herring Bold Bendigo 114: He was so drunk a day or two before the Leger that he fell off a turn-out he was tooling and damaged his face.
[UK]J.B. Booth Sporting Times 151: She tooled the team home in professional style.

(b) to be driven in a horse-drawn vehicle; thus to drive or travel in a car or any other vehicle; usu. as tool along

[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 30 Sept. 3/2: The latter awoke the slumbering charioteer, and kindly volunteered to tool him home.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the Turf’ in Punch 29 Nov. 297/1: I tooled it by road in a hansom, no end of a dashing grey ’orse.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 28 Oct. 1/4: And had he tooled a city bus / From 8 a.m. till midnight’s chime [etc.].
[UK]R. Whiteing No. 5 John Street 148: Drivin’ down myself for the Nimrod. Tool you down in style.
[UK]Wodehouse Damsel in Distress (1961) 12: I’ve got to motor into town to meet Percy. [...] I promised to meet him in town and tool him back in the car.
[UK]A. Christie Secret Adversary (1955) 189: ‘I thought you’d rather I tolled you back to London’.
[UK]‘Leslie Charteris’ Enter the Saint 105: I can understand her getting rather excited when Whiskers tools up with his gang.
[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.
[US]F. Brown Dead Ringer 118: He could tool that little coupé through holes in traffic that didn’t look big enough to fit a kiddy-car.
[US]E. Dundy Dud Avocado (1960) 211: Do you mean to tell me you’ve come tooling all the way down from Paris [...] for the sole purpose of getting off a statement like that?
[US]A.S. Fleischman Venetian Blonde (2006) 250: Then I tooled the car along the canals looking for a good spot.
[US]T. Wolfe Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1969) 309: They tooled up to the rendezvous point — no Kesey.
[US]A. Maupin Tales of the City (1984) 73: She and Binky and Muffy would snitch the keys to Daddy’s Mercedes and tool down to the Fillmore.
[US]‘Joe Bob Briggs’ Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In 144: I [...] tooled down I-45 to the Harbor Lights Bar in Houston.
[US]J. Stahl Permanent Midnight 165: Tooling down to Mickey D’s as fast as I could.
[US]A.N. LeBlanc Random Family 163: She’d tool up to the front gates of the prison – with the girls in the back.

(c) to proceed in a leisurely, aimless way; usu. as tool along

[UK]R. Whiteing Mr Sprouts, His Opinions 34: With that, I tooled out o’ the crib in a huff.
[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 72: You look so beastly conspicuous [...] tooling around London with a fish and a lot of cats.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Phoney Shakedown’ Dan Turner - Hollywood Detective Feb. [Internet] A bilious purple Cadillac limousine [...] slid to the curb, tooled by a hulking bruiser in a ridiculous comic opera uniform.
[US]A.J. Liebling Honest Rainmaker (1991) 134: So the Kid tooled down the wonderful new Pacific Highway.
[US]F. Kohner Gidget Goes Hawaiian 6: I grabbed my board and tooled down to old mother Bu – meaning Malibu.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 6: tool – walking casually [...] We tooled over to school.
[US]C. McFadden Serial 96: I just saw his Volvo tooling around the corner.
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 121: Having tooled all the way from Los Angeles to Beantown, I was so tired [etc.].
[US]T. Dorsey Riptide Ultra-Glide 283: ‘[He] saw this particular boat tooling through the water’.

(d) to leave at speed; usu. as tool along

[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 35: You’d better be tooling down to the desk now.
[US]H. Ellison ‘Neither Your Jenny nor Mine’ in Love Ain’t Nothing but Sex Misspelled 67: He was still staring as I tooled out of the lot.
[US]K. Scott Monster (1994) 191: Mom and I tooled out of the hospital parking lot.
[NZ]P. Shannon Davey Darling 25: Bryce had his foot down and was tooling it up Paget Street as fast as he could go.

3. to pick pockets.

[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Cornhill Mag. VI, 651: We are going a-flimping, buzzing, cracking, tooling, etc [F&H].
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.

4. to attack with a weapon [coined by Thomas De Quincey (1785–1859), punning on SE tool, a dagger + the decoration or ‘tooling’ of a blade].

(a) to murder, usu. with a knife.

[UK]Daily News 12 Feb. in Ware (1909) 248/1: Sir Edward Reed’s suspected assassin is thought to have ‘tooled’, as De Quincey says, with a Japanese dagger.

(b) to stab; to slash with a razor [underpinned by tool n.1 (2e)].

[UK]F. Norman in Encounter n.d. in Norman’s London (1969) 60: Well, if you must know, I got my first [conviction] for a jump up (stealing a lorry), and one for a blag (wages snatch), and another for tooling some flash tearaway (cutting a geezer with a razor).

5. (US campus) to study.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS 211: Tool Work (study) hard and concentratedly.
[US]J. Doyle College Sl. Dict. [Internet] tool [MIT] to study.

In phrases

tool along (v.) (also …around)

1. to drive around, esp. to drive fast; orig. of a coach, latterly an automobile.

J. Frazer in Haileybury Observer I 53: The road was so good as to enable us to ‘tool along’ in a well-hung britschka, at the rate of ten miles an hour .
[UK]Era (London) 4 Sept. 11/3: He can tool along when he likes in the most artistical style, and is a Jehu deservedly popular with his passengers.
[UK]York Herald 22 Mar. 8/4: The drivers of the four-in-hands [...] are all men of high social position, who ’tool along the road’ really for the love of the thing.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 29 Nov. 15/2: [A] lovely spring morning, with the sun tooling his golden ‘drag’ [...] o’erhead.
[UK]N. Devon Jrnl 9 Sept. 6/1: Next there comes the Windsor drag, / With team of faultless bays / Which Peyton loves to tool along / Her Majesty’s highways.
[UK]Ipswich Jrnl 1 June 5/2: Representatives of the bon ton tool along in gorgeous drags, blowing tin trumpets.
[UK]Isle of Man Times 18 Nov. 3/1: Venerable countrymen were seen tooling along the roads.
[UK]Portsmouth Eve. News 13 Nov. 3/1: Master Bertie Cooke [...] can tool the car along at ten miles an hour with the utmost coolness.
[UK]Dundee Courier 21 June 7/3: Streets resound with the jingle of harness, and are gay with the scarlet coats of drivers, who tool along [...] the laden four-in-hands.
[UK](con. 1917–18) J.M. Saunders Wings (1928) 157: Mary-Louise Preston was tooling along the Champs Elysées in her truck.
[US]G. Underwood ‘Razorback Sl.’ in AS L:1/2 68: tool around vi Drive around in a car.
[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 20: I was tooling along when I see this drunk run up on the embankment.
[US]C. Hiaasen Lucky You 298: Tooling along in the missing skiff.
[US]St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 30 Sept. C001/1: A group of young professional blacks dancing [...] while the new car tooled around town.

2. to walk or travel leisurely.

[UK]A.J. Munby Diary 23 Feb. (1972) 116: Near S. Martin’s Lane, I met W. M. Thackeray; ‘tooling’ along quietly, alone, with hands in pockets [OED].

3. to walk off fast.

[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 22: I was tooling along a mossy path with the brow a bit wet with honest sweat.
[Aus]T. Winton ‘Long, Clear View’ in Turning (2005) 197: You know well enough to keep tooling along as though you haven’t noticed.

4. to walk with, to guide.

[UK](con. 1923) ‘J.H. Ross’ Mint (1955) 170: Your next stop’ll be Adjutant tomorrow. I’ll tool you along.

5. in non-physical sense, to peruse, to research.

[Aus]S. Maloney Sucked In 210: He spent the whole day tooling around the electorate with the membership lists.
tool in (v.)

(US campus) to arrive, usu. at speed.

[US]F. Kohner Affairs of Gidget 30: Might as well get them now, instead of tooling in on Sunday.
[US]G. Underwood ‘Razorback Sl.’ in AS L:1/2 68: He came tooling in about 9:00.
tool off (v.) (also tool out)

to leave, to go away; to abandon, to desert.

[UK]Wodehouse Carry on, Jeeves 152: I shook his hand, patted him on the back and tooled off home to Jeeves.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Red Wind’ in Red Wind (1946) 62: I [...] watched the squad car tool off down the block.
[US] ‘Hot Rod Lexicon’ in Hepster’s Dict. 7: Tooling out – Taking off fast.
[US]I. Taylor ‘Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb’ [lyrics] If you ever tool me out...dead, I’m the saddest, like a brain.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 111: When we parted she was tooling off to tell him.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 212: Tool out Leave a place.
[UK]J. Niven Kill Your Friends (2009) 57: This gentleman [...] tooling off through the beaded curtains.
tool up (v.) [tool n.1 (2e)/tool n.1 (2f)]

1. to arm oneself; thus tool up on v., to shoot someone.

[US]H.S. Thompson Hell’s Angels (1967) 28: Maybe some once-bland fraternal group tooling up.
[UK]J. Mandelkau Buttons 27: We tooled up immediately.
[US]S. King Different Seasons (1995) 467: Ace is probably gonna tool up on Gordie and somebody else’ll tool up on Teddy.
[UK]Guardian Guide 5–12 June 9: Buffy and her stake-wielding homegirls have to tool up with gunsamundo to save the day.
[UK]N. ‘Razor’ Smith Raiders 191: We [...] got changed into our robbery kit and tooled up.
[UK]G. Knight Hood Rat 105: He always calls Pilgrim to check on him, just as he is tooling up for a robbery.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Zero at the Bone [ebook] ‘I’ve spent the night tooling up. I’m gonna jump the bastards in the airport car park’.
[UK]Eve. Standard 4 July 9/5: ‘Stakes are higher and people tool up’.

2. (US drugs) to equip oneself with a package of drugs to sell.

[US]Simon & Burns ‘Straight and True’ Wire ser. 3 ep. 5 [TV script] Tell our people to tool up.

Based on SE tool/tool n.1 (1)

In phrases

tool (about) (v.) (also …around)

to behave in an aimless, irresponsible manner, to waste time.

[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 32/2: TOOL. To stall or loaf.
[UK]Wodehouse Clicking of Cuthbert 171: Ramsden was always busy tooling around with little Wilberforce.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 234: Start tooling about up there, and you’ll be following your father.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 224/2: Tool, v. (Leavenworth Prison) To shirk work.
[US]Current Sl. I:1 4/2: Tooling Unoccupied or in search of something to do; fooling around.
[US]Current Sl. II:3 12: Tool, v. To walk or move around.
[US]A. Maupin Tales of the City (1984) 102: All I did in high school was tool around with the guys and a six-pack of Bud, looking for heterosexuals to beat up.
[US]O. Hawkins Chili 72: I had a nice car to tool around in.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 49: She couldn’t see herself out there where Gary wanted her, tooling around with some kitchen apron on.
[US]T. Dorsey Hurricane Punch 53: He’s tooling around in the middle of a hurricane.
tool (around) (v.)

(US campus) to mistreat someone.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS 212: Tooled (around) Treated unfairly on an exam.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct. 10: tool – ridicule [...] Elizabeth was tooled by Doug because he never called her after she had professed her love for him.