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[hyoo or, often, yoo] /hyu or, often, yu/
verb (used with object), hewed, hewed or hewn, hewing.
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.
verb (used without object), hewed, hewed or hewn, hewing.
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
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.
1. See cut. 2. form. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for hewing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As to hewing the knoll into terraces up and down again, tear up that confounded plan.

    The Garden, You, and I Mabel Osgood Wright
  • The savages dragged him into their midst, hacking and hewing his inanimate form.

    Villegagnon W.H.G. Kingston
  • Meanwhile Wolfhart raged back and forth, hewing alway King Gunther's men.

  • There's a job of hewing for you in the Conlonge shanty,—a man gone off sick.

    Old Man Savarin and Other Stories Edward William Thomson
  • "I wonder, now, what it is that is hewing away up yonder," said Jack.

  • We and our machines, both, hewing away on the infinite, beckon and are still.

    The Voice of the Machines Gerald Stanley Lee
  • You are hewing out for yourselves cisterns, broken cisterns, which can hold no water.

    Practical Religion John Charles Ryle
  • This was hewing close to the line, and Mormon glared at him while the spinster sniffed.

    Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn
  • He had followed the advancing line of colonization into the Northeast, hewing his way with the other pioneers.

    The Black Buccaneer Stephen W. Meader
British Dictionary definitions for hewing


verb hews, hewing, hewed, hewed, hewn (hjuːn)
to strike (something, esp wood) with cutting blows, as with an axe
(transitive) often foll by out. to shape or carve from a substance
(transitive; often foll by away, down, from, off, etc) to sever from a larger or another portion
(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


abbreviation (in the US)
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 hewing



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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Related Abbreviations for hewing


Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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