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[mat-uh k] /ˈmæt ək/
an instrument for loosening the soil in digging, shaped like a pickax, but having one end broad instead of pointed.
before 900; Middle English mattok, Old English mattuc Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mattock
  • And when it does, you have to grub it out with a mattock-miserable work.
  • He abandoned the shovel part and reshaped the ax and mattock blades.
  • Digging tools such as a mattock are useful for removing underground parts.
  • Use a pick mattock for planting, which has a pick on one surface and a triangular wedge on the other surface.
British Dictionary definitions for mattock


a type of large pick that has one end of its blade shaped like an adze, used for loosening soil, cutting roots, etc
Word Origin
Old English mattuc, of unknown origin; related to Latin mateola club, mallet
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 mattock

Old English mættoc, probably from Vulgar Latin *matteuca "club," related to Latin mateola, a kind of mallet (see mace (n.1)), but this is not certain, and synonymous Russian motyka, Lithuanian matikkas suggest other possibilities. OED says similar words in Welsh and Gaelic are from English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mattock in the Bible

(1.) Heb. ma'eder, an instrument for dressing or pruning a vineyard (Isa. 7:25); a weeding-hoe. (2.) Heb. mahareshah (1 Sam. 13:1), perhaps the ploughshare or coulter. (3.) Heb. herebh, marg. of text (2 Chr. 34:6). Authorized Version, "with their mattocks," marg. "mauls." The Revised Version renders "in their ruins," marg. "with their axes." The Hebrew text is probably corrupt.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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