"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[hach-it] /ˈhætʃ ɪt/
a small, short-handled ax having the end of the head opposite the blade in the form of a hammer, made to be used with one hand.
a tomahawk.
verb (used with object)
to cut, destroy, kill, etc., with a hatchet.
to abridge, delete, excise, etc.:
The network censor may hatchet 30 minutes from the script.
bury the hatchet, to become reconciled or reunited; make peace.
take up the hatchet, to begin or resume hostilities; prepare for or go to war:
The natives are taking up the hatchet against the enemy.
Origin of hatchet
1300-50; 1670-80, Americanism for def 6; Middle English hachet < Middle French hachette, diminutive (see -et) of hache ax < Frankish *hapja kind of knife; akin to Greek kóptein to cut (cf. comma, syncope)
Related forms
hatchetlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hatchet
  • Give the hatchet a good wash first, then set the pumpkin on a safe surface and chop as you would a length of wood.
  • The piece was a hatchet job, designed to inspire the uniformed.
  • Occupant reappears with a hatchet and pounds on the brick wall.
  • Throw not the hatchet at the lord, he will turn the sharp edge against thee.
  • The sagamore took his opportunity, and having a little hatchet under his garment, therewith knocked him in the head.
  • There were two long gashes to the head, both of which penetrated the brain, made by a hatchet.
  • With a series of loud bangs, he used the hatchet to sunder the shells into pieces the size of ashtrays.
  • But the government, desperate to redeem a misguided promise, seems to be reaching for a hatchet instead of a scalpel.
  • Stories about preachers usually come in two types: hagiographies and hatchet jobs.
  • It is not often that one observes the birth of a neo-con hatchet job.
British Dictionary definitions for hatchet


a short axe used for chopping wood, etc
a tomahawk
(modifier) of narrow dimensions and sharp features: a hatchet face
bury the hatchet, to cease hostilities and become reconciled
Derived Forms
hatchet-like, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French hachette, from hache axe, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German happa knife
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 hatchet

c.1300 "small ax" (mid-12c. in surnames), from Old French hachete, diminutive of hache "ax, battle-axe, pickaxe," possibly from Frankish *happja or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *hæbijo (cf. Old High German happa "sickle, scythe"), from PIE root *kop- "to beat, strike" (cf. Greek kopis "knife;" Lithuanian kaplys "hatchet," kapoti "cut small;" Old Church Slavonic skopiti "castrate").

In Middle English, hatch itself was used in a sense "battle-axe." In 14c., hang up (one's) hatchet meant "stop what one is doing." Phrase bury the hatchet (1794) is from a supposed Native American peacemaking custom. Hatchet-man was originally California slang for "hired Chinese assassin" (1880), later extended figuratively to journalists who attacked the reputation of a public figure (1944).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with hatchet
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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