You might have heard someone saying “he’s a tool” or “she’s being used as a tool” before, but you might not be too familiar with the meaning. It’s a slang term that is used mostly as an insult, so let’s see when and why we use it.
What Does It Mean To Be Called “A Tool”?
When someone calls someone else “a tool,” they’re calling them stupid and incapable of thinking with their own mind. Like a typical tool (i.e., a hammer), they have a purpose, but someone uses them for that purpose – the same can be applied to mindless people.
Even though it’s a slang term, The Cambridge Dictionary defines a “tool” when referring to a person as “someone whose decisions and actions are unfairly controlled by others.”
Examples Of When A Guy Is Used As A Tool
Now let’s look at the scenarios where people might be used as a tool, and you might want to indicate this. We’ll start by looking at how a guy might be used as a tool, though there isn’t much difference between the two genders here, and either can be used interchangeably.
- He is a tool to his girlfriend, and he has no idea.
The scenario here is perhaps the most common time to call a guy a tool. We’re implying that he has no idea that his girlfriend is using him for a purpose.
Usually, the purpose has something to do with a personal gain for the girlfriend. It creates some kind of superficial relationship, where she’s not in it for his love but is instead in it for some form of validation.
- He is used as a tool by the company he works for.
This time, the guy in question is used by the company he works for. While this isn’t as commonly used as the relationship example, it’s perhaps more prevalent in modern times.
Companies frequently take their employees for granted, and sometimes they don’t even realize it. If the man is going to work every day without worrying about what they ask him to do, he’s usually considered a tool.
- He is a tool to this agenda.
This one is a lot more open-ended, but the circumstance here refers to an agenda that may be put forward. This might have political ties to it, and you can say that the man in question is a tool to the political ideals and doesn’t actually know much about them.
Examples Of When A Girl Is Used As A Tool
Now let’s look at a few examples of when a girl is used as a tool. As we’ve said, the two genders don’t get treated differently when used as a tool, and in both cases, the relationship example works really well.
- She is nothing but a tool for her boyfriend.
This time, the girl is being used as a tool in the relationship. This means that the boyfriend is using her however he sees fit. It could be related to making himself look better by having a girlfriend, or it could mean he gets what he wants from her, and she is none the wiser.
Again, there’s always an implication here that the relationship is one-sided, but the girl is a tool and doesn’t realize it.
- She is a tool to this university.
One of the other circumstances you might come across it is by being a tool to a specific establishment. In this context, we’re seeing a girl being used by a university as a tool.
This could mean that the university asks a lot of her to promote themselves, but she doesn’t get much back as a reward for doing it.
- She’s a tool for social media.
While social media is commonplace these days, it’s common for people to become tools for it. In this case, the girl is so used to posting her life stories and pictures online that she’s forgotten what she’s doing it for. Now she simply uploads pictures mindlessly and expects approval.
- She’s a tool without a brain.
We thought we’d include this one as a more solid insult. This is one of the other ways we can use “tool” as an insult. Rather than giving a particular circumstance, we use this to simply say that somebody is mindless and stupid.
How To Not Be A Tool
Obviously, being called a tool isn’t ideal. No one wants to be one, and no one wants to be taken advantage of. That’s why it’s important to know when the time might come that someone may consider you a tool. We thought we’d throw together a quick guide to help you.
- Ask yourself what the person or thing wants from you.
- If you can’t think of a good reason for it, then you may be a tool.
- Approach them about the matter to see what they want out of their relationship or connection.
- If they don’t give you a good answer, they are treating you like a tool.
- Leave the situation before you’re used any further.
Is Calling Someone A Tool An Insult?
Generally speaking, calling someone a tool is always used as an insult.
There are two main meanings for tool in English, and both are insults when talking about a person. The first says they’re a mindless object being used by somebody. The second says they’re stupid. Neither of these is nice to say about someone.
How To React If You Hear That Someone Has Called You A Tool
If you hear that someone has called you a tool, it might be time to evaluate your situation.
If they said it to your voice about a relationship you’re in, ask yourself what you’re getting out of your relationship compared to what your partner is. Make a decision based on the equality of your relationship.
If someone said it behind your back, then it might be wise to confront them and ask them why they said it. They might be able to help you understand why they think you’re a tool and they might be able to help you with it. Alternatively, you can tell them off for doing so.