ax

ax

[aks]
noun, plural axes [ak-siz] .
1.
an instrument with a bladed head on a handle or helve, used for hewing, cleaving, chopping, etc.
2.
Jazz Slang. any musical instrument.
3.
the ax, Informal.
a.
dismissal from employment: to get the ax.
b.
expulsion from school.
c.
rejection by a lover, friend, etc.: His girlfriend gave him the ax.
d.
any usually summary removal or curtailment.
verb (used with object), axed, axing.
4.
to shape or trim with an ax.
5.
to chop, split, destroy, break open, etc., with an ax: The firemen had to ax the door to reach the fire.
6.
Informal. to dismiss, restrict, or destroy brutally, as if with an ax: The main office axed those in the field who didn't meet their quota. Congress axed the budget. Also, axe.
Idioms
7.
have an ax to grind, to have a personal or selfish motive: His interest may be sincere, but I suspect he has an ax to grind.

Origin:
before 1000; Middle English; ax(e), ex(e), Old English æx, æces; akin to Gothic aquizi, Old Norse øx, ǫx, Old High German acc(h)us, a(c)kus (German Axt), Middle High German plural exa < Germanic *akwiz-, akuz-, aksi-*ákəs, áks-; Latin ascia (< *acsiā), Greek axī́nē; < Indo-European *ag-s-

axlike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged

ax-

variant of axi-, especially before a vowel.

ax.

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
axe or (US) ax (æks)
 
n , pl axes
1.  See also hatchet a hand tool with one side of its head forged and sharpened to a cutting edge, used for felling trees, splitting timber, etc
2.  an axe to grind
 a.  an ulterior motive
 b.  a grievance
 c.  a pet subject
3.  informal the axe
 a.  dismissal, esp from employment; the sack (esp in the phrase get the axe)
 b.  (Brit) severe cutting down of expenditure, esp the removal of unprofitable sections of a public service
4.  slang (US) any musical instrument, esp a guitar or horn
 
vb
5.  to chop or trim with an axe
6.  informal to dismiss (employees), restrict (expenditure or services), or terminate (a project)
 
[Old English æx; related to Old Frisian axa, Old High German acchus, Old Norse öx, Latin ascia, Greek axinē]
 
ax or (US) ax
 
n
 
vb
 
[Old English æx; related to Old Frisian axa, Old High German acchus, Old Norse öx, Latin ascia, Greek axinē]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

ax
O.E. æces (Northumbrian acas), later æx, from P.Gmc. *akusjo (cf. O.S. accus, O.N. ex, O.Fris. axe, Ger. Axt, Goth. aqizi), from PIE *agw(e)si- (cf. Gk. axine, L. ascia). Meaning "musical instrument" is 1955, originally jazz slang for the saxophone; rock slang for "guitar" dates to 1967.
The ax in fig. sense of cutting of anything (expenses, workers, etc.), especially as a cost-saving measure, is from 1922, probably from the notion of the headman's literal axe (itself attested from mid-15c.). To have an axe to grind is from an 1815 essay by U.S. newspaper editor Charles Miner (17801865) in which a man flatters a boy and gets him to do the chore of axe-grinding for him, then leaves without offering thanks or recompense. Misattributed to Benjamin Franklin in Weekley, OED print edition, and many other sources.
"The spelling ax is better on every ground, of etymology, phonology, and analogy, than axe, which became prevalent during the 19th century; but it is now disused in Britain." [OED]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

ax abbr.
axis

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
AX
ask (shortwave transmission)
ax.
  1. axiom

  2. axis

The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

ax

In addition to the idiom beginning with ax, also see get the ax.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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Synonyms
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