Word of the Day Archive
Monday August 6, 2012
1. To uphold, follow closely, or conform (usually followed by to): to hew to the tenets of one's political party.
2. To strike with cutting blows; cut: He hewed more vigorously each time.
3. To strike forcibly with an ax, sword, or other cutting instrument; chop; hack.
4. To make, shape, smooth, etc., with cutting blows: to hew a passage through the crowd; to hew a statue from marble.
When the Holy Grail presents itself—which is, in this version, the atomic bomb, "a superweapon if you will, with which we can chastise and thwart the enemy"—they must decide whether to hew to their knightly ways or adopt a modern ruthlessness.
-- Donald Barthelme, The King
The Puritans of New England no doubt could make their congregations hew to a purely technical virtue by means of severe fines and punishments for adultery.
-- Isak Dinesen, Daguerreotypes and Other Essays
Hew is a very old word that comes from the Old Norse word hǫggva meaning "to strike."