Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Whittle Down.

 Whittle (A).Whitworth Gun. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Whittle Down.
To cut away with a knife or whittle; to reduce; to encroach. In Cumberland, underpaid schoolmasters used to be allowed Whittle-gaiti.e. the privilege of knife and fork at the table of those who employ them.   1
   The Americans “whittled down the royal throne;” “whittled out a commonwealth;” “whittle down the forest trees;” “whittle out a railroad;” “whittle down to the thin end of nothing.” (Saxon, hwytel, a large knife.)   2
        “We have whittled down our loss extremely, and will not allow a man more than 350 English slain out of 4,000.”—Walpole.

 Whittle (A).Whitworth Gun. 


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