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or axe

[aks] /æks/
noun, plural axes
[ak-siz] /ˈæk sɪz/ (Show IPA)
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.
  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, axing.
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-
Related forms
axlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for axing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No, then, indeed I didn't, darling; and glad enough he was to be axing me.

  • There's a jintleman in the drawing-room as is axing afther masther.

    The Kellys and the O'Kellys Anthony Trollope
  • Terry went into the kitchen, with the news that "masther was awake, and axing for tay."

    The Kellys and the O'Kellys Anthony Trollope
  • You was axing, Tom, ef there was more business with thim Injun critters.

    Indian and Scout F. S. Brereton
  • Well, when this lad's gone aboard, and is away, I'll be axing for more of his gold.

    With Wellington in Spain F. S. Brereton
  • What's the good of axing when ye knows that I knows nothing?

    The Landleaguers

    Anthony Trollope
  • Like —— and blazes, your honour, axing your pardon, and the deck's.

    Hard Cash Charles Reade
  • I s'pose you have some veighty reasons for axing me to do it?

    The Gold Hunter's Adventures

    William H. Thomes
Word Origin and History for axing



see axe (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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axing in Medicine

ax abbr.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for axing



  1. Any musical instrument, esp the saxophone: He played his ax at the casino (1950s+ Jazz musicians)
  2. A guitar (Rock and roll)


  1. To dismiss someone from a job, a team, a school, a relationship, etc; can, fire: who suggested to Reagan that Deaver be axed
  2. To eliminate; cut: They axed a lot of useless stuff from the budget

[musical instrument sense fr the resemblance in shape between a saxophone and an ax, and possibly fr the rhyme with sax]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with axing


In addition to the idiom beginning with ax also see: get the ax
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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