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Overview

pencil

Writing or drawing instrument consisting of a slender rod of graphite or similar substance encased in a cylinder of wood (or less usually metal or plastic). Although the material is ...

pencil

pencil vb.   Reference library

Garner's Modern English Usage (5 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2022
Subject:
Language reference
Length:
16 words

... , vb. , makes penciled and penciling in AmE, pencilled and pencilling in BrE. See spelling (c) . ...

Pencil

Pencil   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

... The word was originally used for a painter’s brush and is still in use for very fine paintbrushes. It comes from Latin penicillum , ‘paintbrush’, a diminutive of peniculus , ‘a brush’, itself a diminutive of penis , ‘tail’. (Hence also the word ‘penicillin’, from the tufted appearance of the sporangia of the Penicillium fungus from which the antibiotic is obtained.) When the modern pencil came into use in the early 17th century, it was known as a dry pencil or a pencil with black lead. Pencil of rays All the rays of light that issue from one point or...

pencil

pencil   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (5 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
235 words

...clay meant a harder pencil. Conté obtained a patent for his process in 1795 . It was only then that the pencil became the universal drawing instrument that it is today. Ingres , who often used pencil with great delicacy in his portrait drawings, was one of the first to show its potential. Although the Oxford English Dictionary records the usage of the phrase ‘a pencil of black lead’ as early as 1612 , until the end of the 18th century (or even later) the word ‘pencil’ more commonly meant a brush (particularly a small brush). ‘Pencilling’ could mean...

pencil

pencil   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
200 words

... [Lat. pencillum , ‘little tail’, i.e. brush] A brush or, far more commonly now, a writing and drawing implement that leaves a coloured mark on a surface. Predecessors of the modern *lead pencil were the *stylus , for writing on wax *tablets or for *ruling MS pages, and the disk of lead ( plumbum ) used by Roman *scribes to rule *papyrus . The black-lead, or *graphite , pencil became encased in wood for ease of handling from the 17 th century. The pencil mark is usually more easily erased than *ink , and perhaps for that reason the ...

Pencil

Pencil   Reference library

The Grove Encyclopedia of Materials and Techniques in Art

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
912 words

...Green Pencils in a Glass Jar , 1968 ; J. Kirkman private collection, see Hockney, p. 184), and his experiment with pencil crayons may have been influential on their ensuring popularity. Oskar Kokoschka ( 1886–1980 ) also adopted coloured pencils for sketching and drawing. In fact, the diversity of what is meant by pencil has expanded considerably as manufacturers have employed the form of the wooden-cased pencil for a variety of media. There are now pastel pencils, charcoal pencils, sanguine and carbon black pencils, as well as watercolour pencils, both...

pencil

pencil   Reference library

A Dictionary of English Manuscript Terminology 1450–2000

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2011
Subject:
Literature, History
Length:
249 words

...centuries, were made of steel, brass, or even chased silver. Commercial production of the familiar modern pencils, comprising black lead tightly encased in wood, dates from the late eighteenth century; by 1854 the company of Joseph Banks in Keswick had achieved an output of between 5 and 6 million pencils per annum. Later developments in pencil technology have included pencils made with plastic instead of wood and the familiar propelling pencil (a cylindrical metal or plastic tube with a mechanism for moving a thin length of graphite through a hole in...

pencil

pencil   Reference library

The Oxford Dictionary of Art (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
280 words

...that more clay meant a harder pencil. He obtained a patent for his process in 1795 . It was only then that the pencil became the universal drawing instrument that it is today. Ingres , who often used pencil with great delicacy in his portrait drawings, was one of the first to show its potential. Although the Oxford English Dictionary records the usage of the phrase ‘a pencil of black lead’ as early as 1612 , until the end of the 18th century the word ‘pencil’ more commonly meant a brush (particularly a small brush). ‘Pencilling’ could mean ‘colouring’ or...

pencil

pencil   Quick reference

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
171 words

...with varying amounts of clay. The resulting pencils could be produced in several degrees of hardness, graphite being soft and clay hard. From that time on the pencil was recognized as a major drawing instrument, as it still is today. Indeed, until the late 18th century the term ‘pencil’ more commonly meant a brush (particularly a small one such as that used for watercolour ) and ‘pencilling’ could mean ‘colouring’ or ‘brushwork’ as well as...

pencil

pencil   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2021
Subject:
Language reference, History of English
Length:
106 words

...pencil [ME] Although it looks as if pencil should come from pen , the words are unrelated. A pencil once meant a fine paintbrush—Johnson’s dictionary defines it as ‘a small brush of hair which painters dip in their colours’. It comes from Old French pincel , from Latin penicillum ‘paintbrush’, from penis ‘tail’, from the tuft of hair at the end of some tails. The Latin penis was also used for the male organ, a use that passed into English in the late 16th century. Penicillum was also the source of the name of the drug penicillin [M20th] named from...

pencil

pencil   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to Western Art

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2003
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
127 words

... . The word found in both Latin and Old French originally meant an artist's paintbrush, usually made of camel hair or sable. By the beginning of the 17th century, however, its meaning seems to have changed to denote instead an instrument, probably of wood, intended both for drawing and writing which could hold pieces of graphite , chalks of various colours, or charcoal . Within 50 years its definition shifted again, this time to indicate more specifically a strip of graphite enclosed in a softwood cylinder or in a metal case with a tapering end (a ...

lead pencil

lead pencil   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
8 words

...pencil Popular name for the *graphite *pencil...

pencil bar

pencil bar   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Construction, Surveying and Civil Engineering (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020

... bar A thin reinforcing bar, 6–8 mm in...

pencil arris

pencil arris   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Construction, Surveying and Civil Engineering (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020

... arris ( pencil round ) A corner or angle of timber or plaster rounded to a radius of approximately 3...

pencil beam

pencil beam   Reference library

The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2002

... beam a searchlight beam reduced to, or set at, its minimum...

pencil-rounded

pencil-rounded   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Architecture (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2021
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
12 words

...-rounded Arris blunted by rubbing to form a slightly rounded...

propelling pencil

propelling pencil   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
104 words

...pencil ( mechanical pencil ) A *pencil in which a slim cylinder of graphite, known as a lead ( see lead pencil ), is held within a tubular case, and advanced mechanically for writing. The lead is fed by a screw, or a clutch operated by a button. Additional leads were sold in glass tubes, but later these could be carried within the pencil’s case. Patented in 1822 , it improved on the stop-sliding pencil of 1783 . Some commercial names reflect its convenience: ‘Ever-pointed’, ‘Everedy’, ‘Eversharp’. Leads of varying size, hardness, and colour are...

graphite pencil

graphite pencil   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
66 words

...pencil The invention of the pencil c .1560 , was first documented in 1565 . Although known as the *lead (earlier ‘black-lead’) pencil, it was (from 1795 ) made of graphite (also plumbago, or wadd), crystallized carbon, mined in Borrowdale, England, until the 1860s . Modern pencils use powdered graphite and china clay, by the Conté method of extrusion. Margaret M. Smith H. Petroski , The Pencil ...

lead pencil

lead pencil   Quick reference

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
71 words

...pencil The modern lead pencil was introduced in 1795 and is a writing or drawing tool consisting of a thin rod made from a mixture of graphite , fine clay and binder , which is encased, either in lacquered red cedar, or in a mechanical pencil holder. It is normally available in seventeen grades of hardness, ranging from 9 h to 6 b (the softest, containing practically no...

smoke pencil

smoke pencil   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Construction, Surveying and Civil Engineering (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020

...pencil A hand-held device that emits a small jet of smoke. Used to identify the location of air leakage during a fan pressurization test . It can be battery- or hand-operated. See also smoke puffer ; wizard stick...

pencil flame gun

pencil flame gun   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Mechanical Engineering (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2019

...pencil flame gun A small torch employed instead of a soldering iron...

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