- to strike forcibly with an ax, sword, or other cutting instrument; chop; hack.
- to make, shape, smooth, etc., with cutting blows: to hew a passage through the crowd; to hew a statue from marble.
- to sever (a part) from a whole by means of cutting blows (usually followed by away, off, out, from, etc.): to hew branches from the tree.
- to cut down; fell: to hew wood; trees hewed down by the storm.
- to strike with cutting blows; cut: He hewed more vigorously each time.
- to uphold, follow closely, or conform (usually followed by to): to hew to the tenets of one's political party.
Origin of hew
Examples from the Web for hewer
Being but a hewer of wood and drawer of water, she is rheumatic.Barnaby Rudge
He was not only a hewer of wood, but often a bearer of wood as well as of water.Little Tora, The Swedish Schoolmistress and Other Stories
Mrs. Woods Baker
Would you advise me, then, to be a hewer of wood and a drawer of water, in preference?Ernest Linwood
Caroline Lee Hentz
The negro has been made the hewer of wood and the drawer of water for nearly all other nations.Clotelle
William Wells Brown
He'll be our hewer of wood and drawer of water, to say nothing of washing the dishes.Jim Spurling, Fisherman
Albert Walter Tolman
- to strike (something, esp wood) with cutting blows, as with an axe
- (tr often foll by out) to shape or carve from a substance
- (tr; often foll by away, down, from, off, etc) to sever from a larger or another portion
- (intr often foll by to) US and Canadian to conform (to a code, principle, etc)
- Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
Word Origin and History for hewer
"cutter" (of stone or wood), mid-12c. as a surname, agent noun from hew (v.). Hwers of wood and drawers of water as the lowliest sort of physical laborers is from Joshua ix:12.
Old English heawan "to chop, hack, gash" (class VII strong verb; past tense heow, past participle heawen), earlier geheawan, from Proto-Germanic *hawwan (cf. Old Norse hoggva, Old Frisian hawa, Old Saxon hauwan, Middle Dutch hauwen, Dutch houwen, Old High German houwan, German hauen "to cut, strike, hew"), from PIE root *kau- "to hew, strike" (cf. Old Church Slavonic kovo, Lithuanian kauju "to beat, forge;" Latin cudere "to strike, beat;" Middle Irish cuad "beat, fight").
Weak past participle hewede appeared 14c., but hasn't displaced hewn. Seemingly contradictory sense of "hold fast, stick to" (in phrase hew to) developed from hew to the line "stick to a course," literally "cut evenly with an axe or saw," first recorded 1891. Related: Hewed; hewing.