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[pohl-aks] /ˈpoʊlˌæks/
noun, plural poleaxes
[pohl-ak-siz] /ˈpoʊlˌæk sɪz/ (Show IPA)
a medieval shafted weapon with blade combining ax, hammer, and apical spike, used for fighting on foot.
an ax, usually with a hammer opposite the cutting edge, used in stunning and slaughtering animals.
an ax with both a blade and a hook, formerly used in naval warfare to assist sailors in boarding vessels.
verb (used with object), poleaxed, poleaxing.
to strike down or kill with or as if with a poleax.
Origin of poleax
1300-50; Middle English pollax battle-ax, literally, head-ax (see poll1, ax); akin to Middle Low German polexe


[pohl-aks] /ˈpoʊlˌæks/
noun, plural poleaxes
[pohl-ak-siz] /ˈpoʊlˌæk sɪz/ (Show IPA),
verb (used with object), poleaxed, poleaxing.
1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for poleaxed
Historical Examples
  • The sentry fell to the ground like a poleaxed steer and lay still.

    The Revolt on Venus Carey Rockwell
  • And I suppose if we strangled the children and poleaxed the husbands it would leave women free for higher culture.

    All Things Considered G. K. Chesterton
  • I should simply have been poleaxed and dropped overboard, while the yacht sailed away.

    A Coin of Edward VII Fergus Hume
  • As if poleaxed, the green man fell; and both the adventurers recovered their feet.

    The Heads of Apex Francis Flagg
British Dictionary definitions for poleaxed


another term for battle-axe (sense 1)
a former naval weapon with an axe blade on one side of the handle and a spike on the other
an axe used by butchers to slaughter animals
(transitive) to hit or fell with or as if with a poleaxe
Word Origin
C14 pollax battle-axe, from poll + axe
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 poleaxed



kind of axe used as a weapon or by butchers, c.1300, pollax, from pol "head" (see poll (n.)) + ax (n.). From notion of beheading or head-splitting, or perhaps from the shape of the ax. Spelling altered 17c. by confusion with pole (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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