- an instrument with a bladed head on a handle or helve, used for hewing, cleaving, chopping, etc.
- Jazz Slang. any musical instrument.
- the ax, Informal.
- dismissal from employment: to get the ax.
- expulsion from school.
- rejection by a lover, friend, etc.: His girlfriend gave him the ax.
- any usually summary removal or curtailment.
- to shape or trim with an ax.
- to chop, split, destroy, break open, etc., with an ax: The firemen had to ax the door to reach the fire.
- Informal. to dismiss, restrict, or destroy brutally, as if with an ax: The main office axed those in the field who didn't meet their quota. Congress axed the budget.
- have an ax to grind, to have a personal or selfish motive: His interest may be sincere, but I suspect he has an ax to grind.
Origin of ax
before 1000; Middle English; ax(e), ex(e), Old English æx, æces; akin to Gothic aquizi, Old Norse øx, ǫx, Old High German acc(h)us, a(c)kus (German Axt), Middle High German plural exa < Germanic *akwiz-, akuz-, aksi- ≪ *ákəs, áks-; Latin ascia (< *acsiā), Greek axī́nē; < Indo-European *ag-s-
- variant of axi-, especially before a vowel.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for ax
One morning a few years ago, the editor left his apartment to find an ax stuck into a log on his doorstep.The Kremlin Is Killing Echo of Moscow, Russia’s Last Independent Radio Station
November 7, 2014
“Kasich wields his ax much less selectively than do most of his party colleagues,” the New York Times Magazine reported in 1998.John Kasich: The GOP’s Hobbled 2016 Dark Horse
W. James Antle III
November 3, 2014
Then, one warm summer day, Andrew and Abby were found hacked to death more than a dozen times with an ax.Would You Stay in Lizzie Borden’s Ax-Murder House?
October 30, 2014
The ensuing night gave me the grand migraine of my life, with throbs like the blows of an ax and continuous pinwheels.The Stacks: H.L. Mencken on the 1904 Baltimore Fire
October 4, 2014
Armed with an ax or a machete, he stops incoming cars for questioning: Who are they?Nigeria’s Do-It-Yourself Boko Haram Busters
May 16, 2014
I rub it on boots, I keep my guns and ax from rustin' by smearin' it on.With Trapper Jim in the North Woods
Lawrence J. Leslie
His ax swung up and down, bit into something soft and yielding.
He swung and swung again, the ax bit deep, but still they came.
Then the Triton grew enraged, leaped up and struck at Notscha with his ax.
And in the tree sat a man who was chopping off the smaller boughs with an ax.
Word Origin and History for ax
see axe (n.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Idioms and Phrases with ax
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.