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pole·​ax ˈpōl-ˌaks How to pronounce poleax (audio)
variants or poleaxe
: 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
: an ax used in slaughtering cattle


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variants or poleaxe
poleaxed; poleaxing; poleaxes

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
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, 22 Nov. 2019 Even before Mr Johnson poleaxed Parliament, this was not going to be easy. The Economist, 29 Aug. 2019 Soon after, another rocketed into Steve Smith's neck -- just below his left ear -- poleaxing the Aussie batsman. Ben Morse, CNN, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 22 Jan. 2018 See More

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

Word History



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

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1855, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near poleax

Cite this Entry

“Poleax.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poleax. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

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