axe

Definitions

General English

Media Studies

  • noun a rock guitar or a brass instrument used in jazz, particularly a saxophone

Publishing

  • verb to cut or stop something

Slang

  • noun a guitar. The word in this sense was enthusiastically adopted by white rock musicians in the late 1960s. Black blues and jazz musicians had originally applied it to any instrument (such as a saxophone) that was held in both hands and ‘wielded’. By the early 1970s the white use of the word, which had always had an element of self-consciousness, was mainly confined to rock music journalists or fans.

Origin & History of “axe”

Relatives of the word axe are wide-spread throughout the Indo-European languages, from German axt and Dutch aaks to Latin ascia and Greek axī́nē. these point back to a hypothetical Indo-European *agwesī or *akusī, which denoted some sort of cutting or hewing tool. The Old English form was æx, and there is actually no historical justification for the modern British spelling axe, which first appeared in the late 14th century; as late as 1885 the Oxford English Dictionary made ax its main form, and it remains so in the USA.
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