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Whittle Down

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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.

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.)

We have whittled down our loss extremely, and will not allow a man more than 350 English slain out of 4,000.”—Walpole.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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White in the Eye
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Whittington
Whittle (A)
Whittle Down
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Wicked Prayer Book (The)
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