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axe

[aks] /æks/
noun, plural axes
[ak-siz] /ˈæk sɪz/ (Show IPA),
verb, axed, axing.
1.
ax.
Can be confused
acts, ask, axe.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for axe
  • At the centre of his show is a coffin in the shape of a ship topped with a flint hand axe.
  • Artifacts unearthed at the site include a stone axe head, a pottery fragment, and an ornamental pin.
  • In the cellar was an axe covered with blood and wrapped in some old clothing.
  • Sometimes bad history's grinding axe drowns true accomplishment and objective judgement, however charming or witty it may be.
  • Some bosses may be tempted to axe maintenance work-and workers-altogether, because they have plenty of spare capacity.
  • It looks as if it had been inflicted with a hatchet or an axe.
  • Slumped in airport reception, grounded travellers may well wonder why their flight got the axe.
  • All colleges will have bitter ex-employees or former teachers with an axe to grind.
British Dictionary definitions for axe

axe

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

Old English æces (Northumbrian acas) "axe, pickaxe, hatchet," later æx, from Proto-Germanic *akusjo (cf. Old Saxon accus, Old Norse ex, Old Frisian axe, German Axt, Gothic aqizi), from PIE *agw(e)si- (cf. Greek axine, Latin ascia).

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]



The spelling ax, though "better on every ground, of etymology, phonology, & analogy" (OED), is so strange to 20th-c. eyes that it suggests pedantry & is unlikely to be restored. [Fowler]
Meaning "musical instrument" is 1955, originally jazz slang for the saxophone; rock slang for "guitar" dates to 1967. The axe in figurative 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. editor and politician Charles Miner (1780-1865) 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.

v.

1670s, "to shape or cut with an axe," from axe (n.). Meaning "to remove, severely reduce," usually figurative, recorded by 1922. Related: Axed; axing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for axe

ax

noun
  1. Any musical instrument, esp the saxophone: He played his ax at the casino (1950s+ Jazz musicians)
  2. A guitar (Rock and roll)
verb
  1. To dismiss someone from a job, a team, a school, a relationship, etc; can, fire: who suggested to Reagan that Deaver be axed
  2. To eliminate; cut: They axed a lot of useless stuff from the budget

[musical instrument sense fr the resemblance in shape between a saxophone and an ax, and possibly fr the rhyme with sax]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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axe in Technology

tool
A text editor for the X Window System. No longer maintained.
(1998-03-13)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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axe in the Bible

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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10
10
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