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  1. plural of axis1.


  1. plural of ax or axe.


or axe

noun, plural ax·es [ak-siz] /ˈæk sɪz/.
  1. an instrument with a bladed head on a handle or helve, used for hewing, cleaving, chopping, etc.
  2. Jazz Slang. any musical instrument.
  3. the ax, Informal.
    1. dismissal from employment: to get the ax.
    2. expulsion from school.
    3. rejection by a lover, friend, etc.: His girlfriend gave him the ax.
    4. any usually summary removal or curtailment.
verb (used with object), axed, ax·ing.
  1. to shape or trim with an ax.
  2. to chop, split, destroy, break open, etc., with an ax: The firemen had to ax the door to reach the fire.
  3. 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.
  1. 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-
Related formsax·like, adjective


noun, plural ax·es [ak-seez] /ˈæk siz/.
  1. the line about which a rotating body, such as the earth, turns.
  2. Mathematics.
    1. a central line that bisects a two-dimensional body or figure.
    2. a line about which a three-dimensional body or figure is symmetrical.
  3. Anatomy.
    1. a central or principal structure, about which something turns or is arranged: the skeletal axis.
    2. the second cervical vertebra.
  4. Botany. the longitudinal support on which organs or parts are arranged; the stem and root; the central line of any body.
  5. Analytic Geometry. any line used as a fixed reference in conjunction with one or more other references for determining the position of a point or of a series of points forming a curve or a surface.Compare x-axis, y-axis.
  6. Crystallography. crystallographic axis.
  7. Aeronautics. any one of three lines defining the attitude of an airplane, one being generally determined by the direction of forward motion and the other two at right angles to it and to each other.
  8. Fine Arts. an imaginary line, in a given formal structure, about which a form, area, or plane is organized.
  9. an alliance of two or more nations to coordinate their foreign and military policies, and to draw in with them a group of dependent or supporting powers.
  10. the Axis, (in World War II) Germany, Italy, and Japan, often with Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania.
  11. a principal line of development, movement, direction, etc.

Origin of axis1

First recorded in 1540–50, axis is from the Latin word axis an axletree, axle, axis. See axi-
Related formsax·ised [ak-sist] /ˈæk sɪst/, adjectiveun·ax·ised, adjective


noun, plural ax·is·es.
  1. axis deer.

Origin of axis2

First recorded in 1595–1605, axis is from the Latin word axis a wild animal of India (Pliny)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for axes

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • To run straight, the axes of all the wheels must obviously be parallel.

  • One of the Creator's lamentable mistakes, repented in sashcloth and axes.

  • Every tithing-man in Somersetshire is searching for axes and scythes.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • The stranger with the crimson robe pursued, And slaughtered with axes and blades.

    Y Gododin


  • The door of the shop was locked and there was a yell for axes to burst it open.

    Cap'n Eri

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for axes


  1. the plural of axis 1


  1. the plural of axe


noun plural axes (ˈæksiːz)
  1. a real or imaginary line about which a body, such as an aircraft, can rotate or about which an object, form, composition, or geometrical construction is symmetrical
  2. one of two or three reference lines used in coordinate geometry to locate a point in a plane or in space
  3. anatomy the second cervical vertebraCompare atlas (def. 3)
  4. botany the main central part of a plant, typically consisting of the stem and root, from which secondary branches and other parts develop
  5. an alliance between a number of states to coordinate their foreign policy
  6. Also called: principal axis optics the line of symmetry of an optical system, such as the line passing through the centre of a lens
  7. geology an imaginary line along the crest of an anticline or the trough of a syncline
  8. crystallog one of three lines passing through the centre of a crystal and used to characterize its symmetry

Word Origin

C14: from Latin: axletree, earth's axis; related to Greek axōn axis


noun plural axises
  1. any of several S Asian deer of the genus Axis, esp A. axis. They typically have a reddish-brown white-spotted coat and slender antlers

Word Origin

C18: from Latin: Indian wild animal, of uncertain identity


    1. the Axisthe alliance of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Japan, established in 1936 and lasting until their defeat in World War II
    2. (as modifier)the Axis powers
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for axes



1540s, "imaginary straight line around which a body (such as the Earth) rotates," from Latin axis "axle, pivot, axis of the earth or sky," from PIE *aks- "axis" (cf. Old English eax, Old High German ahsa "axle;" Greek axon "axis, axle, wagon;" Sanskrit aksah "an axle, axis, beam of a balance;" Lithuanian aszis "axle"). Figurative sense in world history of "alliance between Germany and Italy" (later extended unetymologically to include Japan) is from 1936. Original reference was to a "Rome-Berlin axis" in central Europe. The word later was used in reference to a London-Washington axis (World War II) and a Moscow-Peking axis (early Cold War).



see axe (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

axes in Medicine


  1. axis


n. pl. ax•es (ăksēz′)
  1. A real or imaginary straight line about which a body or geometric object rotates or may be conceived to rotate.
  2. A center line to which parts of a structure or body may be referred.
  3. The second cervical vertebra.epistropheus vertebra dentata
  4. An artery that divides into many branches at its origin.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

axes in Science


Plural axes (ăksēz′)
  1. An imaginary line around which an object rotates. In a rotating sphere, such as the Earth and other planets, the two ends of the axis are called poles. The 23.45° tilt of the Earth's axis with respect to the plane of its orbit around the Sun causes the Northern and Southern Hemispheres to point toward and away from the Sun at different times of the year, creating seasonal patterns of weather and climate. Other planets in the solar system have widely varying tilts to their axes, ranging from near 0° for Mercury to 177° for Venus.
  2. Mathematics
    1. A line, ray, or line segment with respect to which a figure or object is symmetrical.
    2. A reference line from which distances or angles are measured in a coordinate system, such as the x-axis and y-axis in the Cartesian coordinate system.
  3. Anatomy The second cervical vertebra, which serves as a pivot for the head.
  4. Botany The main stem or central part of a plant or plant part, about which other plant parts, such as branches or leaflets, are arranged.
Related formsaxial adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

axes in Culture


An imaginary straight line passing through the North Pole, the center of the Earth, and the South Pole. The Earth rotates around this axis.


In geometry, a straight line about which an object may rotate or that divides an object into symmetrical halves.


The axis of the Earth is an imaginary line drawn through the North Pole and the South Pole.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with axes


In addition to the idiom beginning with ax

also see:

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.