hand ax

noun

Definition of hand ax

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

Examples of hand ax in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Olduvai Gorge is the only other bone hand ax dated to more than one million years ago. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "1.4-Million-Year-Old Ax Made of Hippo Bone Found in Ethiopia," 15 July 2020 The last hand ax at the site dates to 499,000 years ago, before the gap. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, "Signs of symbolic behavior emerged at the dawn of our species in Africa," 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, "Evolve or die: Why our ancestors learned to be social more than 320,000 years ago," 15 Mar. 2018 The hand axes do disclose evident aesthetic choices. Jason Farago, New York Times, "Was Australopithecus an Artist?," 1 Feb. 2018 For example, the hand axes had been replaced by smaller, more sophisticated tools that could be attached to sticks and hurled through the air.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, "Evolve or die: Why our ancestors learned to be social more than 320,000 years ago," 15 Mar. 2018 About 900,000 years ago, a skull cap shows that the human ancestor H. erectus lived at Olorgesailie and used big Acheulean hand axes and scrapers to butcher meat. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, "Signs of symbolic behavior emerged at the dawn of our species in Africa," 15 Mar. 2018 The oldest, which are about 1 million years of age, are large, pear- and oval -shaped hand axes, a style of tool that's known to have been carried out of Africa by early hominids. Sophie Weiner, Popular Mechanics, "New Discovery of Ancient Tools Complicates Our Story of Human Evolution," 2 Feb. 2018 Large hand axes, sitting in view of steel sculptures by Mark di Suvero and Richard Serra, date from 300,000 years ago or earlier. Jason Farago, New York Times, "Was Australopithecus an Artist?," 1 Feb. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of hand ax

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

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

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Last Updated

15 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hand ax.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hand%20ax. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on hand ax

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hand ax

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