Ax vs. Axe

By Jaxson

  • Axe

    An axe (sometimes ax in American English; see spelling differences) is an implement that has been used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood, to harvest timber, as a weapon, and as a ceremonial or heraldic symbol. The axe has many forms and specialised uses but generally consists of an axe head with a handle, or helve.

    Before the modern axe, the stone-age hand axe was used from 1.5 million years BP without a handle. It was later fastened to a wooden handle. The earliest examples of handled axes have heads of stone with some form of wooden handle attached (hafted) in a method to suit the available materials and use. Axes made of copper, bronze, iron and steel appeared as these technologies developed. Axes are usually composed of a head and a handle.

    The axe is an example of a simple machine, as it is a type of wedge, or dual inclined plane. This reduces the effort needed by the wood chopper. It splits the wood into two parts by the pressure concentration at the blade. The handle of the axe also acts as a lever allowing the user to increase the force at the cutting edge—not using the full length of the handle is known as choking the axe. For fine chopping using a side axe this sometimes is a positive effect, but for felling with a double bitted axe it reduces efficiency.

    Generally, cutting axes have a shallow wedge angle, whereas splitting axes have a deeper angle. Most axes are double bevelled, i.e. symmetrical about the axis of the blade, but some specialist broadaxes have a single bevel blade, and usually an offset handle that allows them to be used for finishing work without putting the user’s knuckles at risk of injury. Less common today, they were once an integral part of a joiner and carpenter’s tool kit, not just a tool for use in forestry. A tool of similar origin is the billhook.

    Most modern axes have steel heads and wooden handles, typically hickory in the US and ash in Europe and Asia, although plastic or fibreglass handles are also common. Modern axes are specialised by use, size and form. Hafted axes with short handles designed for use with one hand are often called hand axes but the term hand axe refers to axes without handles as well. Hatchets tend to be small hafted axes often with a hammer on the back side (the poll). As easy-to-make weapons, axes have frequently been used in combat.

  • Ax (verb)

    alternative spelling of axe

  • Ax (verb)

    alternative form of ask

    “1526, w|William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Acts I:”

    “year=1879|author=William Barnes|authorlink=William Barnes|chapter=The Welshnut Tree|title=Complete Poems of William Barnes|volume=1|page=106|passage=Ar try who’l ax em the hardest riddle, / Ar soonest vind out oone put us, true;”

    “1979, w|Verna Mae Slone, What My Heart Wants to Tell, Kentucky 1988, p. 18:”

  • Axe (noun)

    A tool for felling trees or chopping wood etc. consisting of a heavy head flattened to a blade on one side, and a handle attached to it.

  • Axe (noun)

    An ancient weapon consisting of a head that has one or two blades and a long handle.

  • Axe (noun)

    A dismissal or rejection.

    “His girlfriend/boss/schoolmaster gave him the axe.”

    “chop|pink slip|sack|boot”

  • Axe (noun)

    A gigging musician’s particular instrument, especially a guitar in rock music or a saxophone in jazz.

  • Axe (noun)

    A position, interest, or reason in buying and selling stock, often with ulterior motives.

    “A financial dealer has an axe in a stock that his buyers don’t know about, giving him an advantage in making the most profit.”

  • Axe (noun)

    The axle of a wheel.

  • Axe (verb)

    To fell or chop with an axe.

  • Axe (verb)

    To lay off, terminate or drastically reduce, especially in a rough or ruthless manner.

    “The government announced its plans to axe public spending.”

    “The broadcaster axed the series because far fewer people than expected watched it.”

    “He got axed in the last round of firings.”

    “fire|lay off|downsize”

  • Axe (verb)

    To furnish with an axle.

  • Axe (verb)

    alternative form of ask

  • Ax (verb)

    non-standard form of ask

    “I axed him if he wanted some company”

    “she axed about Mama”

    “I’m axing plenty question”

  • Axe (noun)

    a tool used for chopping wood, typically of iron with a steel edge and wooden handle

    “I started swinging the axe at the lumps of driftwood”

    “an axe blade”

  • Axe (noun)

    a measure intended to reduce costs drastically, especially one involving redundancies

    “thirty staff are facing the axe at the Royal Infirmary”

  • Axe (noun)

    a musical instrument used in popular music or jazz, especially a guitar or (originally) a saxophone.

  • Axe (verb)

    end, cancel, or dismiss suddenly and ruthlessly

    “2,500 staff were axed as part of a rationalization programme”

    “the company is axing 125 jobs”

  • Axe (verb)

    reduce (costs or services) drastically

    “the Chancellor warned the cabinet to axe public spending”

  • Axe (verb)

    cut or strike with an axe, especially violently or destructively

    “the mahogany panelling had been axed”

Oxford Dictionary

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