- Also hand axe. a usually large, general-purpose bifacial Paleolithic stone tool, often oval or pear-shaped in form and characteristic of certain Lower Paleolithic industries.
- broad hatchet.
Origin of hand ax
before 1000; Middle English, Old English
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for hand ax
Jest as I raised my hand-ax I happened to cast my eyes down the hill.Dutch Courage and Other Stories
- A cutting or chopping tool, especially of the Lower Paleolithic Period, typically consisting of a piece of flint or other coarse stone that has been flaked on both sides to produce a sharp edge running all around the perimeter. Hand axes are core tools (produced from a found stone rather than from a processed flake) and have been found in several basic, often pointed shapes, including oval, triangular, and cordate (heart-shaped). The most common Paleolithic tool, they are especially associated with the Acheulian and some Mousterian tool cultures.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.