noun, plural pole·ax·es [pohl-ak-siz] /ˈpoʊlˌæk sɪz/.
  1. a medieval shafted weapon with blade combining ax, hammer, and apical spike, used for fighting on foot.
  2. an ax, usually with a hammer opposite the cutting edge, used in stunning and slaughtering animals.
  3. an ax with both a blade and a hook, formerly used in naval warfare to assist sailors in boarding vessels.
verb (used with object), pole·axed, pole·ax·ing.
  1. to strike down or kill with or as if with a poleax.

Origin of poleax

1300–50; Middle English pollax battle-ax, literally, head-ax (see poll1, ax); akin to Middle Low German polexe
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for poleax

Historical Examples of poleax

  • He considered a grate-bar from a heating furnace, and then he found the poleax, lying among a pile of wormeaten boards.

    Police Operation

    H. Beam Piper

Word Origin and History for poleax

kind of axe used as a weapon or by butchers, c.1300, pollax, from pol "head" (see poll (n.)) + ax (n.). From notion of beheading or head-splitting, or perhaps from the shape of the ax. Spelling altered 17c. by confusion with pole (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper