awl (n.) Look up awl at Dictionary.com
Old English æl "awl, piercer," from Proto-Germanic *ælo (cognates: Old Norse alr, Dutch aal, Middle Low German al, Old High German äla, German Ahle), of uncertain origin. Earliest references are to piercing of the ears, though later it was associated with shoemakers. Through misdivision, frequently written 15c.-17c. as nawl (for an awl; see N).