- an instrument with a bladed head on a handle or helve, used for hewing, cleaving, chopping, etc.
- Jazz Slang. any musical instrument.
- the ax, Informal.
- dismissal from employment: to get the ax.
- expulsion from school.
- rejection by a lover, friend, etc.: His girlfriend gave him the ax.
- any usually summary removal or curtailment.
- to shape or trim with an ax.
- to chop, split, destroy, break open, etc., with an ax: The firemen had to ax the door to reach the fire.
- 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.
- 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.
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-
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
see axe (n.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
have an ax to grind
To have a selfish motive or personal stake in a matter: “When the lobbyist approached the senators, they suspected he had an ax to grind.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
In addition to the idiom beginning with ax
- ax to grind
- get the ax
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.