[ zaks ]
/ zæks /
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a hatchetlike tool for cutting and punching nail holes in roofing slate.
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Origin of zax

Dialectal variant of sax2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a zax?

A zax is a hatchet-like tool used for cutting and punching holes in slate or other roofing materials.

A zax, also known as a slater’s ax, is a specialized tool used by a slater, someone who constructs roofs and other parts of buildings out of slate. One side of the zax is a wide blade, shaped like a cleaver, which is used to cut pieces of slate to the desired shape or to define an edge. The other side of the zax has a stake that is used to strike the slate, punching holes into it for nails, screws, pegs, or other similar. There are right-handed zaxes and left-handed zaxes so that the user can use their dominant hand to cut the slate.

Example: I dulled my zax over the years and now slate breaks in the wrong way.

Where does zax come from?

Zax is a dialectal variant of sax, meaning “short, single-edged sword.” The first records of the term sax come from before 900. It comes from the Old English seax.

A zax is more often called a slater’s ax, so the term is mostly know as the highest-scoring three-letter word in the game of Scrabble. Z is worth 10 points, a is worth 1, and x is worth 8, so that zax is worth 19 points alone. Players can gain extra points by using the term’s plural form, zaxes, or by playing the word on double  or triple letter or word boxes.

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What are some synonyms for zax?

What are some words that often get used in discussing zax?

How is zax used in real life?

Zax is not often used anymore, except as a high-scoring word in Scrabble.

Try using zax!

True or False?

A zax is used primarily for cutting down trees.

British Dictionary definitions for zax

/ (zæks) /

a variant of sax 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