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hatchet

[hach-it]
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noun
  1. a small, short-handled ax having the end of the head opposite the blade in the form of a hammer, made to be used with one hand.
  2. a tomahawk.
  3. hatchetfish.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to cut, destroy, kill, etc., with a hatchet.
  2. to abridge, delete, excise, etc.: The network censor may hatchet 30 minutes from the script.
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Idioms
  1. bury the hatchet, to become reconciled or reunited; make peace.
  2. take up the hatchet, to begin or resume hostilities; prepare for or go to war: The natives are taking up the hatchet against the enemy.
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Origin of hatchet

1300–50; 1670–80, Americanism for def 6; Middle English hachet < Middle French hachette, diminutive (see -et) of hache ax < Frankish *hapja kind of knife; akin to Greek kóptein to cut (cf. comma, syncope)
Related formshatch·et·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hatchet

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The muses, like vines, may be pruned, but not with a hatchet.

  • Oh, how I understood now the rascally-looking fellow, with his hatchet and tomahawk!

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • The next moment he threw the hatchet at me, and began to run toward me.

  • The hatchet struck my foot, and the blow roused me, and I sprang into the boat.

  • One of them was as tall as De Launay, gaunt and hatchet faced.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter


British Dictionary definitions for hatchet

hatchet

noun
  1. a short axe used for chopping wood, etc
  2. a tomahawk
  3. (modifier) of narrow dimensions and sharp featuresa hatchet face
  4. bury the hatchet to cease hostilities and become reconciled
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Derived Formshatchet-like, adjective

Word Origin

C14: from Old French hachette, from hache axe, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German happa knife
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

Word Origin and History for hatchet

n.

c.1300 "small ax" (mid-12c. in surnames), from Old French hachete, diminutive of hache "ax, battle-axe, pickaxe," possibly from Frankish *happja or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *hæbijo (cf. Old High German happa "sickle, scythe"), from PIE root *kop- "to beat, strike" (cf. Greek kopis "knife;" Lithuanian kaplys "hatchet," kapoti "cut small;" Old Church Slavonic skopiti "castrate").

In Middle English, hatch itself was used in a sense "battle-axe." In 14c., hang up (one's) hatchet meant "stop what one is doing." Phrase bury the hatchet (1794) is from a supposed Native American peacemaking custom. Hatchet-man was originally California slang for "hired Chinese assassin" (1880), later extended figuratively to journalists who attacked the reputation of a public figure (1944).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with hatchet

hatchet

In addition to the idioms beginning with hatchet

  • hatchet job
  • hatchet man

also see:

  • bury the hatchet
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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.