pole·​ax | \ ˈpōl-ˌaks How to pronounce poleax (audio) \
variants: or poleaxe

Definition of poleax

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a battle-ax with a short handle and often a hook or spike opposite the blade also : one with a long handle used as an ornamental weapon
2 : an ax used in slaughtering cattle


variants: or poleaxe
poleaxed; poleaxing; poleaxes

Definition of poleax (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to attack, strike, or fell with or as if with a poleax

Examples of poleax in a Sentence

Verb He went down as if he'd been poleaxed.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Moreover, some strong farm and minerals prices persisted even after the financial-sector debacle of 2007-09 put the general U.S. economy into recession and poleaxed the stock market. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Edward Lotterman: Taconite layoffs manifest old debate," 22 Nov. 2019 Even before Mr Johnson poleaxed Parliament, this was not going to be easy. The Economist, "How Parliament can stop Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit," 29 Aug. 2019 Soon after, another rocketed into Steve Smith's neck -- just below his left ear -- poleaxing the Aussie batsman. Ben Morse, CNN, "Steve Smith's concussion raises troubling memories for Australian cricket," 19 Aug. 2019 Iran’s oil production has dropped by 1.5 million barrel a day over the past year, poleaxing the Islamic Republic’s economy. Time, "British Marines Seize Supertanker Carrying Iranian Oil to Syria, Causing Diplomatic Row," 4 July 2019 Kyle Walker swung a lazy arm across Fakhreddine Ben Youssef who fell as if poleaxed and Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan pointed to the spot, with his decision being upheld by the VAR. Daniel Hicks, chicagotribune.com, "Captain fantastic Kane to the rescue as England beat Tunisia at the last," 19 June 2018 House Republicans, who began the week with just 40 days of work left on their calendar — seriously, check for yourself — will have spent four of them being poleaxed on issues that divide their conference and alienate most voters. David Weigel, Washington Post, "What Republicans just can’t seem to get away from," 22 June 2018 Beijing has proved adept at directing China’s shopping habits: An unofficial boycott of South Korean goods after the country deployed a missile defense system poleaxed local sales for Hyundai and retailer Lotte Shopping Co. in 2016 and 2017. Bloomberg.com, "These Companies Are America’s Biggest Losers in a Trade War," 8 Mar. 2018 The Eagles poleaxed the Minnesota Vikings in front of more than 69,000 fans (nice) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia Sunday night. Jack Holmes, Esquire, "Eagles Fans Calmly Celebrate by Climbing a Few Greased-Up Street Poles," 22 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'poleax.' 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 poleax


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1855, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for poleax


Middle English polax, pollax, from pol, polle poll + ax

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Time Traveler for poleax

Time Traveler

The first known use of poleax was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Poleax.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poleax. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of poleax

: to hit and knock down (someone)

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