a light ax used by the North American Indians as a weapon and tool.
any of various similar weapons or implements.
(in Australia) a stone hatchet used by the Aborigines.

verb (used with object)

to attack, wound, or kill with or as if with a tomahawk.

Origin of tomahawk

1605–15; < Virginia Algonquian (E spelling) tamahaac hatchet (equivalent to Proto-Algonquian *temah- to cut (it) off + *-a·kan- instrument for)
Related formstom·a·hawk·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for tomahawk

machete, bill, tomahawk, billhook, fire, hatchet, sack, can, discharge, cleaver, poll, chopper, adz

Examples from the Web for tomahawk

Contemporary Examples of tomahawk

Historical Examples of tomahawk

  • With my tomahawk I cut a mark in that chestnut yonder and buried my weapon at the foot of it.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • I leave the tomahawk and knife to such as have a natural gift to use them.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • You say you're willing to bury the tomahawk; do you mean it?

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • Oh, how I understood now the rascally-looking fellow, with his hatchet and tomahawk!

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • I didn't have my tomahawk, and I didn't know what would happen.

British Dictionary definitions for tomahawk



a fighting axe, with a stone or later an iron head, used by the North American Indians
mainly Australian the usual word for hatchet

Word Origin for tomahawk

C17: from Virginia Algonquian tamahaac
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 tomahawk

1610s, tamahaac, from Algonquian (probably Powhatan) tamahack "what is used in cutting," from tamaham "he cuts." Cognate with Mohegan tummahegan, Delaware tamoihecan, Micmac tumeegun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper