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90s Slang You Should Know


[hyoon or, often, yoon] /hyun or, often, yun/
felled and roughly shaped by hewing:
hewn logs.
given a rough surface:
hewn stone.
Origin of hewn
1300-50; Middle English hewen, past participle of hew
Related forms
unhewn, adjective
well-hewn, adjective


[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.
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.
2. form.
Synonym Study
1. See cut. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hewn
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It seems to have been hewn bodily out of the cliffs or the great hills.

  • But when it chances to be hewn from the same rock as it were—oh!

    Benita, An African Romance H. Rider Haggard
  • This stone is a rough sandstone of cubical shape, showing no trace whatever of having been hewn.

    Primitive Man Louis Figuier
  • Next morning the old cardinal was led out and hewn in pieces.

    The Story of Paris Thomas Okey
  • Together they have hewn the cliffs, which are like vast rock tombs with their Egyptian massiveness.

    In the Open Stanton Davis Kirkham
  • The frame is of hewn timber, generally nine by fourteen inches.

  • Before the temple of Ramses are four seated colossi, with the arms upon the hips, hewn out of the natural rock.

  • The furniture consisted of roughly hewn benches and a table.

  • At the foot of the hill Gandolfo, are the famous outlets of the lake, built with hewn stone, a mile and a half under ground.

    A Letter Book George Saintsbury
British Dictionary definitions for hewn


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 hewn

strong past participle of 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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