hand ax


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 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 Jason Farago, New York Times, 1 Feb. 2018 For example, the hand axes had been replaced by smaller, more sophisticated tools that could be attached to sticks and hurled through the air.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 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, 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, 2 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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hand ax

hand back

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Cite this Entry

“Hand ax.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hand%20ax. Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on hand ax

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hand ax


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