take up hatchet


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. See illus. under ax.
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.

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)

hatchetlike, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
hatchet (ˈhætʃɪt)
1.  a short axe used for chopping wood, etc
2.  a tomahawk
3.  (modifier) of narrow dimensions and sharp features: a hatchet face
4.  bury the hatchet to cease hostilities and become reconciled
[C14: from Old French hachette, from hache axe, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German happa knife]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

mid-12c., from O.Fr. hachette, dim. of hache "axe," possibly from Frank. *happja (cf. O.H.G. happa "sickle, scythe"), from P.Gmc. *khæbijo, from PIE base *(s)qep- "to cut" (cf. Gk. kopis "knife," Lith. kaplys "hatchet"). Phrase bury the hatchet (1794) is from 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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