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


noun, plural pole·ax·es [pohl-ak-siz] /ˈpoʊlˌæk sɪz/, verb (used with object), pole·axed, pole·ax·ing.
  1. poleax.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for poleaxed

Historical Examples of poleaxed

  • The sentry fell to the ground like a poleaxed steer and lay still.

    The Revolt on Venus

    Carey Rockwell

  • And I suppose if we strangled the children and poleaxed the husbands it would leave women free for higher culture.

    All Things Considered

    G. K. Chesterton

  • I should simply have been poleaxed and dropped overboard, while the yacht sailed away.

  • As if poleaxed, the green man fell; and both the adventurers recovered their feet.

    The Heads of Apex

    Francis Flagg

British Dictionary definitions for poleaxed


US poleax

  1. another term for battle-axe (def. 1)
  2. a former naval weapon with an axe blade on one side of the handle and a spike on the other
  3. an axe used by butchers to slaughter animals
  1. (tr) to hit or fell with or as if with a poleaxe

Word Origin for poleaxe

C14 pollax battle-axe, from poll + axe
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 poleaxed



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