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hew

[hyoo or, often, yoo] /hyu or, often, yu/
verb (used with object), hewed, hewed or hewn, hewing.
1.
to strike forcibly with an ax, sword, or other cutting instrument; chop; hack.
2.
to make, shape, smooth, etc., with cutting blows:
to hew a passage through the crowd; to hew a statue from marble.
3.
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.
4.
to cut down; fell:
to hew wood; trees hewed down by the storm.
verb (used without object), hewed, hewed or hewn, hewing.
5.
to strike with cutting blows; cut:
He hewed more vigorously each time.
6.
to uphold, follow closely, or conform (usually followed by to):
to hew to the tenets of one's political party.
Origin of hew
900
before 900; Middle English hewen, Old English hēawan; cognate with German hauen, Old Norse hǫggva; akin to haggle
Related forms
hewable, adjective
hewer, noun
unhewable, adjective
unhewed, adjective
Can be confused
hew, hue, Hugh.
Synonyms
2. form.
Synonym Study
1. See cut.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hewer
Historical Examples
  • Being but a hewer of wood and drawer of water, she is rheumatic.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • He was not only a hewer of wood, but often a bearer of wood as well as of water.

  • Would you advise me, then, to be a hewer of wood and a drawer of water, in preference?

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • The negro has been made the hewer of wood and the drawer of water for nearly all other nations.

    Clotelle William Wells Brown
  • He'll be our hewer of wood and drawer of water, to say nothing of washing the dishes.

    Jim Spurling, Fisherman

    Albert Walter Tolman
  • Pepys died in 1703, at the house of his friend hewer, at Clapham.

    Haunted London Walter Thornbury
  • But he'll never be anything but a hewer, because he doesn't want to learn.

    The Boy With the U.S. Miners Francis Rolt-Wheeler
  • From its mud-holes of Cranmere to the walls of Tavistock it is a hewer of rocks.

    Furze the Cruel John Trevena
  • And in the end he became a hewer of wood and drawer of water at the beck and call of Moosu.

    The Faith of Men Jack London
  • I have been as a hewer of wood and a drawer of water to this movement.

British Dictionary definitions for hewer

hew

/hjuː/
verb hews, hewing, hewed, hewed, hewn (hjuːn)
1.
to strike (something, esp wood) with cutting blows, as with an axe
2.
(transitive) often foll by out. to shape or carve from a substance
3.
(transitive; often foll by away, down, from, off, etc) to sever from a larger or another portion
4.
(US & Canadian) (intransitive) often foll by to. to conform (to a code, principle, etc)
Derived Forms
hewer, noun
Word Origin
Old English hēawan; related to Old Norse heggva, Old Saxon hāwa, Old High German houwan, Latin cūdere to beat

HEW

abbreviation (in the US)
1.
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
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
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Word Origin and History for hewer
n.

"cutter" (of stone or wood), mid-12c. as a surname, agent noun from hew (v.). Hwers of wood and drawers of water as the lowliest sort of physical laborers is from Joshua ix:12.

hew

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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