from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An ax having a hammer face opposite the blade, used to slaughter cattle.
  • noun A medieval battle-ax consisting of a long shaft ending in an ax or a combination of an ax, hammer, and pick.
  • transitive verb To strike or fell with or as if with a poleax.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Formerly, a weapon or tool consisting of an ax-head on a long handle, and often combined with a hook at the end, or a blade like a pick on the side opposite the blade of the ax; later, more loosely, a battle-ax.
  • noun A weapon used in the navy by boarders and also to cut away rigging, etc. It is a hatchet with a short handle at the end of which is a strong hook.
  • noun An ax for slaughtering cattle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Anciently, a kind of battle-ax with a long handle; later, an ax or hatchet with a short handle, and a head variously patterned; -- used by soldiers, and also by sailors in boarding a vessel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Alternative spelling of poleaxe.
  • verb Alternative spelling of poleaxe.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an ax used to slaughter cattle; has a hammer opposite the blade
  • noun a battle ax used in the Middle Ages; a long handled ax and a pick
  • verb fell with or as if with a poleax


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, alteration (influenced by pole, long piece of wood) of pollax : poll, head; see poll + ax, ax; see ax.]


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  • Whenever I see this word I want to say it in my head like "pole-ee-ax" even though I know it's not. I just came across it in a review in the New Yorker of a production of The Glass Menagerie.

    April 10, 2010