the handle of an ax, hatchet, hammer, or the like.

verb (used with object), helved, helv·ing.

to furnish with a helve.

Nearby words

  1. helsingfors,
  2. helsingør,
  3. helsinki,
  4. helsinki conference,
  5. helter-skelter,
  6. helvellyn,
  7. helvetia,
  8. helvetian,
  9. helvetic,
  10. helvetii

Origin of helve

before 900; Middle English; Old English h(i)elfe

Related formshelv·er, nounun·helved, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for helve

British Dictionary definitions for helve



the handle of a hand tool such as an axe or pick


(tr) to fit a helve to (a tool)

Word Origin for helve

Old English hielfe; related to Old Saxon hèlvi, Old High German halb, Lithuanian kìlpa stirrup; see halter

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 helve



Old English helfe, hielfe "handle of an axe" or other tool or weapon, from Proto-Germanic *halb- (cf. Old Saxon helvi, Middle Dutch helf, Old High German halb "handle of an axe," Old High German helmo "tiller"); related to halter and helm (1), from PIE *kelp- "to hold, grasp." In Middle English, to holden the axe bi the helve (c.1200) meant "to take something by the right end."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper