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13 Essential Literary Terms

tomahawk

[tom-uh-hawk] /ˈtɒm əˌhɔk/
noun
1.
a light ax used by the North American Indians as a weapon and tool.
2.
any of various similar weapons or implements.
3.
(in Australia) a stone hatchet used by the Aborigines.
verb (used with object)
4.
to attack, wound, or kill with or as if with a tomahawk.
Origin
Virginia Algonquian
1605-1615
1605-15; < Virginia Algonquian (E spelling) tamahaac hatchet (equivalent to Proto-Algonquian *temah- to cut (it) off + *-a·kan- instrument for)
Related forms
tomahawker, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for tomahawk
  • The tomahawk was buried in the grave of the soldier found the year before, as a symbolic gesture.
  • It exclaims that, while one hand is held up to reject this treaty, the other grasps a tomahawk.
  • Simple if eccentric pleasures: walk the walled garden, row a boat on small lake, learn to throw a tomahawk.
  • Some guys go from standing straight to suddenly soaring off one leg for a tomahawk jam.
British Dictionary definitions for tomahawk

tomahawk

/ˈtɒməˌhɔːk/
noun
1.
a fighting axe, with a stone or later an iron head, used by the North American Indians
2.
(mainly Austral) the usual word for hatchet
Word Origin
C17: from Virginia Algonquian tamahaac
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 tomahawk
n.

1610s, tamahaac, from Algonquian (probably Powhatan) tamahack "what is used in cutting," from tamaham "he cuts." Cognate with Mohegan tummahegan, Delaware tamoihecan, Micmac tumeegun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for tomahawk

Tomahawk

Related Terms

uncle tomahawk


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Encyclopedia Article for tomahawk

war hatchet of the North American Indians. "Tomahawk" was derived from the Algonquian word otomahuk ("to knock down"). Early versions were made by tying a stone head to a handle with animal sinew or by passing a double-pointed chipped stone through a hole bored in a handle. After the arrival of Europeans, tomahawk heads often were made of iron obtained in trade. Globe-headed clubs, often ornately incised and decorated with feathers, and used for ceremonies as well as war, have also been called tomahawks.

Learn more about tomahawk with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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20
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