axe 1 or ax (ăks)
n. pl. ax·es (ăksĭz)
1. A tool with a bladed, usually heavy head mounted crosswise on a handle, used for felling trees or chopping wood.
2. Any of various bladed, handheld implements used as a cutting tool or weapon.
3. Informal A sudden termination of employment: My colleague got the axe yesterday.
4. Slang A musical instrument, especially a guitar.
tr.v. axed, ax·ing, ax·esIdiom:
1. To chop or fell with or as if with an axe: axed down the saplings; axed out a foothold in the ice.
2. Informal To remove ruthlessly or suddenly: a social program that was axed to effectuate budget cuts.
axe to grind
A selfish or ulterior aim: He claimed to be disinterested, but I knew he had an axe to grind.
[Middle English, from Old English æx.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.