Ax, Axe, (?), n. [OE. ax, axe, AS. eax, aex, acas; akin to D. akse, OS. accus, OHG. acchus, G. axt, Icel. ox, oxi, Sw. yxe, Dan. okse, Goth. aqizi, Gr. , L. ascia; not akin to E. acute.]
A tool or instrument of steel, or of iron with a steel edge or blade, for felling trees, chopping and splitting wood, hewing timber, etc. It is wielded by a wooden helve or handle, so fixed in a socket or eye as to be in the same plane with the blade. The broadax, or carpenter's ax, is an ax for hewing timber, made heavier than the chopping ax, and with a broader and thinner blade and a shorter handle.
The ancient battle-ax had sometimes a double edge.
⇒ The word is used adjectively or in combination; as, axhead or ax head; ax helve; ax handle; ax shaft; ax-shaped; axlike.
This word was originally spelt with e, axe; and so also was nearly every corresponding word of one syllable: as, flaxe, taxe, waxe, sixe, mixe, pixe, oxe, fluxe, etc. This superfluous e is not dropped; so that, in more than a hundred words ending in x, no one thinks of retaining the e except in axe. Analogy requires its exclusion here.
"The spelling ax is better on every ground, of etymology, phonology, and analogy, than axe, which has of late become prevalent."
New English Dict. (Murray).
© Webster 1913.
Ax (?), v. t. & i. [OE. axien and asken. See Ask.]
To ask; to inquire or inquire of.
⇒ This word is from Saxon, and is as old as the English language. Formerly it was in good use, but now is regarded as a vulgarism. It is still dialectic in England, and is sometimes heard among the uneducated in the United States. "And Pilate axide him, Art thou king of Jewis?" "Or if he axea fish." Wyclif. "The king axed after your Grace's welfare." Pegge.
© Webster 1913.