hew

[hyoo or, often, yoo]
verb (used with object), hewed, hewed or hewn, hew·ing.
  1. to strike forcibly with an ax, sword, or other cutting instrument; chop; hack.
  2. to make, shape, smooth, etc., with cutting blows: to hew a passage through the crowd; to hew a statue from marble.
  3. 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.
  4. to cut down; fell: to hew wood; trees hewed down by the storm.
verb (used without object), hewed, hewed or hewn, hew·ing.
  1. to strike with cutting blows; cut: He hewed more vigorously each time.
  2. to uphold, follow closely, or conform (usually followed by to): to hew to the tenets of one's political party.

Origin of hew

before 900; Middle English hewen, Old English hēawan; cognate with German hauen, Old Norse hǫggva; akin to haggle
Related formshew·a·ble, adjectivehew·er, nounun·hew·a·ble, adjectiveun·hewed, adjective
Can be confusedhew hue Hugh

Synonyms for hew

2. form.

Synonym study

1. See cut.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hewer

Historical Examples of hewer

  • Being but a hewer of wood and drawer of water, she is rheumatic.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • He was not only a hewer of wood, but often a bearer of wood as well as of water.

  • 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


British Dictionary definitions for hewer

hew

verb hews, hewing, hewed, hewed or hewn (hjuːn)
  1. to strike (something, esp wood) with cutting blows, as with an axe
  2. (tr often foll by out) to shape or carve from a substance
  3. (tr; often foll by away, down, from, off, etc) to sever from a larger or another portion
  4. (intr often foll by to) US and Canadian to conform (to a code, principle, etc)
Derived Formshewer, noun

Word Origin for hew

Old English hēawan; related to Old Norse heggva, Old Saxon hāwa, Old High German houwan, Latin cūdere to beat

HEW

abbreviation for (in the US)
  1. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
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 hewer
n.

"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.

hew

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper