follow Dictionary.com

Today's Word of the Day means...

ax

[aks] /æks/
noun, plural axes
[ak-siz] /ˈæk sɪz/ (Show IPA)
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.
  1. dismissal from employment:
    to get the ax.
  2. expulsion from school.
  3. rejection by a lover, friend, etc.:
    His girlfriend gave him the ax.
  4. 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
1000
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-
Related forms
axlike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for have ax to grind
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
Cite This Source
have ax to grind in Medicine

ax abbr.
axis

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for have ax to grind

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.
Cite This Source
Related Abbreviations for have ax to grind

AX

ask (shortwave transmission)
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with have ax to grind
In addition to the idiom beginning with ax also see: get the ax
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for ax

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for have

10
10
Scrabble Words With Friends