- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for hew on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for hewing
Hewing to principle is difficult, because it makes party whips angry, spoils dinner parties, and ends careers and friendships.The Price of Victory
March 21, 2010
There's a job of hewing for you in the Conlonge shanty,—a man gone off sick.Old Man Savarin and Other Stories
Edward William Thomson
We and our machines, both, hewing away on the infinite, beckon and are still.The Voice of the Machines
Gerald Stanley Lee
The savages dragged him into their midst, hacking and hewing his inanimate form.Villegagnon
He was hewing at a piece of rock that was in the way for the next day's work.Sons and Lovers
David Herbert Lawrence
In those days men were but too well accustomed to hewing off heads.The Norsemen in the West
- 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 hewing
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.