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or pickaxe

[pik-aks] /ˈpɪkˌæks/
noun, plural pickaxes.
a pick, especially a mattock.
verb (used with object), pickaxed, pickaxing.
to cut or clear away with a pickax.
verb (used without object), pickaxed, pickaxing.
to use a pickax.
Origin of pickax
1275-1325; pick2 + ax; replacing Middle English picois < Middle French, Old French; akin to French pic pick2. See pique1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pickaxe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • However that must be risked, although it would be most undesirable to meet him with the pickaxe in their possession.

  • There was a pickaxe—perhaps the very one she had seen there in the winter—and a shovel.

    Ruth Fielding At College Alice B. Emerson
  • In the case of the Thugs this was a pickaxe, but with the Dacoits it was an axe with a highly-tempered edge.

    Prisoners Their Own Warders J. F. A. McNair
  • Look at that broad youth with the pickaxe; at the slight one with the sword.

  • I long to give him a pickaxe, and set him on upon the roads.

    Heartsease Charlotte M. Yonge
  • So with pickaxe and shovel I went to the bottom of the pit and set myself to work.

    My Terminal Moraine Frank E. Stockton
  • As for a pickaxe, it was coming to feel no heavier than the baseball bat which he had always rather scorned.

    Ross Grant Tenderfoot John Garland
  • Then he struck the giant such a blow on the head with a pickaxe that he killed him.

    Favorite Fairy Tales Logan Marshall
  • Meanwhile Jenks swarmed up the pole again, and drew up after him a crowbar, the sledge-hammer, and the pickaxe.

British Dictionary definitions for pickaxe


a large pick or mattock
to use a pickaxe on (earth, rocks, etc)
Word Origin
C15: from earlier pikois (but influenced also by axe), from Old French picois, from picpick²; compare also pique1
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 pickaxe

also pick-axe, early 15c., folk etymology alteration (by influence of axe) of Middle English picas (mid-13c.), via Anglo-French piceis, Old French pocois (11c.) and directly from Medieval Latin picosa "pick," related to Latin picus "woodpecker" (see pie (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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