DRILL. (1) A tool for boring or making holes in hard substances, such as stone, metal, etc. (an adaptation in the 17th century from the Dutch dril or drille, from drillen, to turn, bore a hole; according to the New English Dictionary the word is not to be connected with the English "thrill"). The word drillen was used in Dutch, German and Danish, from the 17th century for training in military exercises and was adopted into English in the same sense. The origin of the application seems to be in the primary sense of "to turn round," from the turning of the troops in their evolutions and from the turning of the weapons in the soldiers' hands. Drill is, formally, the preparation of soldiers for their duties in war by the practice or rehearsal of movements in military order and the handling of arms, and, psychologically, the method of producing in the individual soldier habits of self-control and of mechanically precise actions under disturbing conditions, and of rendering the common instinctive will of a body of men, large or small, amenable to the control of, and susceptible to a stimulus imparted by its commander's will.
(2) A furrow made in the soil in which seed may be sown, and a machine used for sowing seed in such furrows (see Sowing). The word is somewhat doubtful in origin. It may be the same as an obsolete word "drill," to trickle, flow in drops, also a small stream or flow of water, a rill, and is possibly an altered form of "trill."
(3) In zoology, the native name of a large short-tailed west African baboon, Papio leucophaeus, closely allied to the mandrill (q.v.), but distinguished by the absence of brilliant blue and scarlet on the jaws of the fully adult males.
(4) The name of a fabric made in both linen and cotton, and commonly bleached and finished stiff. The word is a shortened form of "drilling," from the German drillich, or "three-threaded," and is so named because the weave originally used in its construction is what is termed the three-leaf twill, nine repeats of which appear in the accompanying figure, while immediately below the design is an intersection of all the nine threads with the first pick. It is essentially a warp-faced fabric; that is, the upper surface is composed mostly of warp threads. In the figure it will be seen that two out of every three threads appear on the surface, and, by introducing a greater number of threads per inch than picks per inch, the weft is made to occupy a still more subordinate position so far as the upper surface of the cloth is concerned. Although the weave shown is still extensively used in this branch, there are others, e.g. the 4-thread and the 5-thread weaves, which are employed for the production of this cloth. Large quantities of drill are shipped to the Eastern markets and to other sub-tropical centres, from which it is sold for clothing. In temperate climates it forms a satisfactory material for ladies' and children's summer clothing, and it is used by chefs, hairdressers, provision merchants, grocers, buttermen, painters and decorators, etc., while many of the long jackets or overalls, such as those worn by many mill and factory managers, are made from the same material.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)