- 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. 2018
Word Origin and History for have an ax to grind
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.
Idioms and Phrases with have an ax to grind
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.