or pick·axe


noun, plural pick·ax·es.

a pick, especially a mattock.

verb (used with object), pick·axed, pick·ax·ing.

to cut or clear away with a pickax.

verb (used without object), pick·axed, pick·ax·ing.

to use a pickax.

Origin of pickax

1275–1325; pick2 + ax; replacing Middle English picois < Middle French, Old French; akin to French pic pick2. See pique1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pickaxe

Contemporary Examples of pickaxe

  • An artist in New Mexico has spent decades chiseling out fantastical caves from the mountains, one pickaxe swing at a time.

    The Daily Beast logo
    New Mexico’s Amazing Man-Made Caves

    Nina Strochlic

    December 12, 2013

Historical Examples of pickaxe

British Dictionary definitions for pickaxe


US pickax


a large pick or mattock


to use a pickaxe on (earth, rocks, etc)

Word Origin for pickaxe

C15: from earlier pikois (but influenced also by axe), from Old French picois, from pic pick ²; compare also pique 1
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 pickaxe

also pick-axe, early 15c., folk etymology alteration (by influence of axe) of Middle English picas (mid-13c.), via Anglo-French piceis, Old French pocois (11c.) and directly from Medieval Latin picosa "pick," related to Latin picus "woodpecker" (see pie (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper