• synonyms


or axe

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noun, plural ax·es [ak-siz] /ˈæk sɪz/.
  1. an instrument with a bladed head on a handle or helve, used for hewing, cleaving, chopping, etc.
  2. Jazz Slang. any musical instrument.
  3. 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.
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verb (used with object), axed, ax·ing.
  1. to shape or trim with an ax.
  2. to chop, split, destroy, break open, etc., with an ax: The firemen had to ax the door to reach the fire.
  3. 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.
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  1. 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.
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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 formsax·like, adjective


  1. variant of axi-, especially before a vowel.
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  1. axiom.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for ax

fire, hatchet, sack, can, discharge, cleaver, poll, tomahawk

Examples from the Web for ax

Contemporary Examples of ax

Historical Examples of ax

Word Origin and History for ax


see axe (n.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ax in Medicine


  1. axis
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with ax


In addition to the idiom beginning with ax

  • ax to grind

also see:

  • get the ax
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.