1 of 2


variants or ax
plural axes
: a cutting tool that consists of a heavy edged head fixed to a handle with the edge parallel to the handle and that is used especially for felling trees and chopping and splitting wood
: a hammer with a sharp edge for dressing (see dress entry 1 sense 6e) or spalling stone
: removal from office or release from employment : dismissal
usually used with the
Employees with poor evaluations got the axe.
Trump quickly gave him the ax [=fired him] for his incompetence.Laura Petrecca
: abrupt elimination or severe reduction of something
Unlimited expense accounts, signing bonuses, and office plants—all are getting the ax [=being cut or eliminated] thanks to corporate cost-cutting measures.Amanda Hinnant
No party was brave enough to offend its supporters by taking an axe to [=severely reducing] expenditure.The Economist
slang : any of several musical instruments (such as a guitar or a saxophone)


2 of 2


variants or ax
axed; axing; axes

transitive verb

: to shape, dress (see dress entry 1 sense 6e), or trim with an axe
axe stone
: to chop, split, or sever with an axe
axe branches from a tree
informal : to remove abruptly (as from employment or from a budget)
The TV program was axed from the new schedule.
axe to grind
: an ulterior often selfish underlying purpose
claims that he has no axe to grind in criticizing the proposed law

Examples of axe in a Sentence

Noun the company was hemorrhaging money, so 700 employees would soon be given the ax Verb The boss told him that he had been axed. the boss will ax anyone who leaks company secrets
Recent Examples on the Web
There’s doggy day care, axe throwing, an arcade, and more to come in the developing area. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 25 Aug. 2023 The event also features a 5K fun run, live music on the lawn, axe throwing, bounce houses, face painting and lawn games, and food trucks all set on the property of the Yamhill County farm. oregonlive, 23 Aug. 2023 More recently working as a lumberjack, Bateman is now swapping the axe for roses, and wants to find his happily ever after by the end of the show. Alicia Vrajlal,, 11 July 2023 The Great Pumpkin Glow is a community-wide light show featuring not just pumpkins but also axe throwing, LED mini golf, a straw maze, and pumpkin pie throwing contests. Emily Cappiello, Travel + Leisure, 2 Aug. 2023 Other events include returning favorites such as Lucha Libre wrestling matches, hot sauce challenge, and taco-eating contests, tequila sampling, a dog pageant, a Kids Zone, axe throwing, and artisan vendors. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 25 June 2023 During the assault, Betty was struck 41 times with a wooden axe. Rachel Desantis, Peoplemag, 13 June 2023 Read the full Pisces Daily Horoscope Aries (March 21 - April 19) Sharpening your intellectual axe? USA TODAY, 28 July 2023 Nightly food and attractions include beer slide, axe throwing, face-painting, GAGA ball, indoor market, petting zoo, balloon artist, glitter tattoos, kids games, playground, board games, lemonade stand, as well as nightly dinners. Jshortavon, cleveland, 17 July 2023
The issues compounded on Tuesday’s problems when 596 flights were axed within, into, or out of the United States and another 4,500-plus were delayed. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 30 Aug. 2023 That's because the Mitsubishi Mirage—which has a base price of under $18,000—is set to be axed, according to a report yesterday by Automotive News. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 16 Aug. 2023 According to Smith, some individuals initially felt relieved they weren't being axed. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 29 Aug. 2023 The dockless vehicle company was axed in the Baltimore Department of Transportation’s latest round of permits, which allow two other e-scooter brands — Spin and LINK by Superpedestrian — to continue operating through June 2024. Dan Belson, Baltimore Sun, 28 Aug. 2023 Harvard University, central to one of the two Students for Fair Admissions cases, axed optional essay prompts and added five 200-word mandatory questions. Ira Porter, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Aug. 2023 For a quick recap, Udoka was suspended from coaching and eventually axed by the Celtics after having a consensual but improper relationship with a team staffer. Elizabeth Ayoola, Essence, 22 Aug. 2023 The top talent firm, home to representatives for the likes of Scarlett Johansson and Tom Cruise, will axe around 60 jobs across multiple departments, insiders familiar with the agency said. Joe Otterson, Variety, 10 Aug. 2023 The Republican-majority Legislature sent a bill to Gov. Katie Hobbs on Tuesday laden with partisan priorities, like axing a light-rail expansion to the state Capitol and preempting bans on gasoline-burning vehicles. Taylor Seely, The Arizona Republic, 14 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'axe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English æcs; akin to Old High German ackus ax, Latin ascia, Greek axinē

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1674, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of axe was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near axe

Cite this Entry

“Axe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on axe

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!