1 [ak-seez]
plural of axis1. Unabridged


2 [ak-siz]
plural of ax or axe.


noun, plural axes [ak-siz] .
an instrument with a bladed head on a handle or helve, used for hewing, cleaving, chopping, etc.
Jazz Slang. any musical instrument.
the ax, Informal.
dismissal from employment: to get the ax.
expulsion from school.
rejection by a lover, friend, etc.: His girlfriend gave him the ax.
any usually summary removal or curtailment.
verb (used with object), axed, axing.
to shape or trim with an ax.
to chop, split, destroy, break open, etc., with an ax: The firemen had to ax the door to reach the fire.
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.
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.

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


[aks] .
noun, plural axes [ak-siz] , verb, axed, axing.
acts, ask, axe.


1 [ak-sis]
noun, plural axes [ak-seez] .
the line about which a rotating body, such as the earth, turns.
a central line that bisects a two-dimensional body or figure.
a line about which a three-dimensional body or figure is symmetrical.
a central or principal structure, about which something turns or is arranged: the skeletal axis.
the second cervical vertebra.
Botany. the longitudinal support on which organs or parts are arranged; the stem and root; the central line of any body.
Analytic Geometry. any line used as a fixed reference in conjunction with one or more other references for determining the position of a point or of a series of points forming a curve or a surface. Compare x-axis, y-axis.
Crystallography, crystallographic axis.
Aeronautics. any one of three lines defining the attitude of an airplane, one being generally determined by the direction of forward motion and the other two at right angles to it and to each other.
Fine Arts. an imaginary line, in a given formal structure, about which a form, area, or plane is organized.
an alliance of two or more nations to coordinate their foreign and military policies, and to draw in with them a group of dependent or supporting powers.
the Axis, (in World War II) Germany, Italy, and Japan, often with Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania.
a principal line of development, movement, direction, etc.

1540–50; < Latin axis an axletree, axle, axis. See axi-

axised [ak-sist] , adjective
unaxised, adjective


2 [ak-sis] .
noun, plural axises.

1595–1605; < Latin axis a wild animal of India (Pliny) Unabridged
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
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
[Old English æx; related to Old Frisian axa, Old High German acchus, Old Norse öx, Latin ascia, Greek axinē]

axes1 (ˈæksiːz)
the plural of axis

axes2 (ˈæksɪz)
the plural of axe

axis1 (ˈæksɪs)
n , pl axes
1.  a real or imaginary line about which a body, such as an aircraft, can rotate or about which an object, form, composition, or geometrical construction is symmetrical
2.  one of two or three reference lines used in coordinate geometry to locate a point in a plane or in space
3.  anatomy Compare atlas the second cervical vertebra
4.  botany the main central part of a plant, typically consisting of the stem and root, from which secondary branches and other parts develop
5.  an alliance between a number of states to coordinate their foreign policy
6.  optics Also called: principal axis the line of symmetry of an optical system, such as the line passing through the centre of a lens
7.  geology an imaginary line along the crest of an anticline or the trough of a syncline
8.  crystallog one of three lines passing through the centre of a crystal and used to characterize its symmetry
[C14: from Latin: axletree, earth's axis; related to Greek axōn axis]

axis2 (ˈæksɪs)
n , pl axises
any of several S Asian deer of the genus Axis, esp A. axis. They typically have a reddish-brown white-spotted coat and slender antlers
[C18: from Latin: Indian wild animal, of uncertain identity]

Axis (ˈæksɪs)
a.  the Axis the alliance of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Japan, established in 1936 and lasting until their defeat in World War II
 b.  (as modifier): the Axis powers

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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Word Origin & History

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]

1540s, "imaginary straight line around which a body (such as the Earth) rotates," from L. axis "axle, pivot, axis of the earth or sky," from PIE *aks- "axis" (cf. O.E. eax, O.H.G. ahsa "axle;" Gk. axon "axis, axle, wagon;" Skt. aksah "an axle, axis, beam of a balance;" Lith. aszis "axle"). Fig. sense
in world history of "alliance between Germany and Italy" (later extended to include Japan) is from 1936. Original reference was to a "Rome-Berlin axis" in central Europe. The word later was used in ref. to a London-Washington axis (World War II) and a Moscow-Peking axis (early Cold War).

see ax.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

ax abbr.

axis ax·is (āk'sĭs)
n. pl. ax·es (āk'sēz')

  1. A real or imaginary straight line about which a body or geometric object rotates or may be conceived to rotate.

  2. A center line to which parts of a structure or body may be referred.

  3. The second cervical vertebra. Also called epistropheus, vertebra dentata.

  4. An artery that divides into many branches at its origin.

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
Science Dictionary
axis   (āk'sĭs)  Pronunciation Key 
Plural axes (āk'sēz')
  1. An imaginary line around which an object rotates. In a rotating sphere, such as the Earth and other planets, the two ends of the axis are called poles. The 23.45° tilt of the Earth's axis with respect to the plane of its orbit around the Sun causes the Northern and Southern Hemispheres to point toward and away from the Sun at different times of the year, creating seasonal patterns of weather and climate. Other planets in the solar system have widely varying tilts to their axes, ranging from near 0° for Mercury to 177° for Venus.

  2. Mathematics

    1. A line, ray, or line segment with respect to which a figure or object is symmetrical.

    2. A reference line from which distances or angles are measured in a coordinate system, such as the x-axis and y-axis in the Cartesian coordinate system.

  3. Anatomy The second cervical vertebra, which serves as a pivot for the head.

  4. Botany The main stem or central part of a plant or plant part, about which other plant parts, such as branches or leaflets, are arranged.

axial adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

axis definition

An imaginary straight line passing through the North Pole, the center of the Earth, and the South Pole. The Earth rotates around this axis.

axis definition

In geometry, a straight line about which an object may rotate or that divides an object into symmetrical halves.

Note: The axis of the Earth is an imaginary line drawn through the North Pole and the South Pole.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
ask (shortwave transmission)
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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Bible Dictionary

Axe definition

used in the Authorized Version of Deut. 19:5; 20:19; 1 Kings 6:7, as the translation of a Hebrew word which means "chopping." It was used for felling trees (Isa. 10:34) and hewing timber for building. It is the rendering of a different word in Judg. 9:48, 1 Sam. 13:20, 21, Ps. 74:5, which refers to its sharpness. In 2 Kings 6:5 it is the translation of a word used with reference to its being made of iron. In Isa. 44:12 the Revised Version renders by "axe" the Hebrew _maatsad_, which means a "hewing" instrument. In the Authorized Version it is rendered "tongs." It is also used in Jer. 10:3, and rendered "axe." The "battle-axe" (army of Medes and Persians) mentioned in Jer. 51:20 was probably, as noted in the margin of the Revised Version, a "maul" or heavy mace. In Ps. 74:6 the word so rendered means "feller." (See the figurative expression in Matt. 3:10; Luke 3:9.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
And journalists are better witnesses than politician-participants grinding
  their ever-present axes.
Others chipped out tools and weapons--arrowheads and axes.
Familiarity with ice axes is necessary for those hiking in winter.
Also on hand: fire axes, smoke blankets and fire extinguishers.
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