ax to grind


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Related to ax to grind: get wind of, with bated breath

ax to grind

A selfish aim or motive, as in The article criticized the new software, but the author had an ax to grind, as its manufacturer had fired his son . This frequently used idiom comes from a story by Charles Miner, published in 1811, about a boy who was flattered into turning the grindstone for a man sharpening his ax. He worked hard until the school bell rang, whereupon the man, instead of thanking the boy, began to scold him for being late and told him to hurry to school. "Having an ax to grind" then came into figurative use for having a personal motive for some action. [Mid-1800s]
See also: ax, grind
References in periodicals archive ?
Reed writes that Gerhard Klann had no ax to grind with Bob Kerrey, but that is clearly disputed by other accounts, including an allegation that Klann was upset that Kerrey had not assisted him in a Medal of Honor application.
But Antigua also elicits bitter memories for our tour guide, who makes it clear she has an ax to grind in this short but powerful billyclub of a book.
He conveyed a clear sense of moral outrage on an issue about which he had no conceivable ax to grind.
Temps are objective, don't have an ax to grind and most don't understand your office politics.
Customers are far more likely to believe a neutral third party with no ax to grind when they certify your product is entirely open and portable.
that the former had an ax to grind against him for planning to file a counter ethics suit in the House of Representatives.
Unlike ``The Daily Show,'' ``The Colbert Report'' so far has no political ax to grind.