hand ax


: a short-handled ax intended for use with one hand
: a prehistoric stone tool having one end pointed for cutting and the other end rounded for holding in the hand

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Archaeological scientist Ellery Frahm holds an obsidian hand ax unearthed in Armenia. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 12 Apr. 2019 The Neanderthal tools found at the site include a hand ax and small flint tools known as scrapers. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 21 Dec. 2021 While making a hand ax basically involves improving an existing rock’s shape, making blades and points means the toolmaker must have begun by first visualizing the ideal shape of such a tool, then reworking the rock to serve that purpose. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Oct. 2020 Olduvai Gorge is the only other bone hand ax dated to more than one million years ago. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 July 2020 The last hand ax at the site dates to 499,000 years ago, before the gap. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, 15 Mar. 2018 The authors found that for roughly 700,000 years, from 1.2 million to 499,000 years ago, the hominids who populated this basin relied almost entirely on one simple, all-purpose stone tool known as a hand ax. Deborah Netburn, latimes.com, 15 Mar. 2018 The hand axes do disclose evident aesthetic choices. Jason Farago, New York Times, 1 Feb. 2018 For example, the hand axes had been replaced by smaller, more sophisticated tools that could be attached to sticks and hurled through the air. Deborah Netburn, latimes.com, 15 Mar. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hand ax.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near hand ax

Cite this Entry

“Hand ax.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hand%20ax. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

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