- to strike forcibly with an ax, sword, or other cutting instrument; chop; hack.
- to make, shape, smooth, etc., with cutting blows: to hew a passage through the crowd; to hew a statue from marble.
- to sever (a part) from a whole by means of cutting blows (usually followed by away, off, out, from, etc.): to hew branches from the tree.
- to cut down; fell: to hew wood; trees hewed down by the storm.
- to strike with cutting blows; cut: He hewed more vigorously each time.
- to uphold, follow closely, or conform (usually followed by to): to hew to the tenets of one's political party.
Origin of hew
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for hew
That may make them more likely to, collectively, hew to a more moderate path when giving odds on the election.Intrade: An Ohio Story
November 5, 2012
After Jobs left, Scully says, the company tried to hew to his design philosophy.7 Best Reads on Steve Jobs's Life
October 6, 2011
Behind all the finger-wagging is the idea that movies about history need to hew to facts.Heil, Tarantino!
August 20, 2009
"I intend to hew to the line, let the chips fall where they may," the statement said.Spring Street
James H. Richardson
We will mark a straight line on the log and hew to that line.Evening Round Up
William Crosbie Hunter
I guess I can wait till they've begun to hew out their underpinnin'.Country Neighbors
The astounded brothers were dragged away to hack and hew and carry.Peter and Wendy
James Matthew Barrie
They draw their long scalping-knives, and hew off broad steaks.The Scalp Hunters
- to strike (something, esp wood) with cutting blows, as with an axe
- (tr often foll by out) to shape or carve from a substance
- (tr; often foll by away, down, from, off, etc) to sever from a larger or another portion
- (intr often foll by to) US and Canadian to conform (to a code, principle, etc)
- Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
Word Origin and History for hew
Old English heawan "to chop, hack, gash" (class VII strong verb; past tense heow, past participle heawen), earlier geheawan, from Proto-Germanic *hawwan (cf. Old Norse hoggva, Old Frisian hawa, Old Saxon hauwan, Middle Dutch hauwen, Dutch houwen, Old High German houwan, German hauen "to cut, strike, hew"), from PIE root *kau- "to hew, strike" (cf. Old Church Slavonic kovo, Lithuanian kauju "to beat, forge;" Latin cudere "to strike, beat;" Middle Irish cuad "beat, fight").
Weak past participle hewede appeared 14c., but hasn't displaced hewn. Seemingly contradictory sense of "hold fast, stick to" (in phrase hew to) developed from hew to the line "stick to a course," literally "cut evenly with an axe or saw," first recorded 1891. Related: Hewed; hewing.