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take an axe to

To destroy or attempt to destroy something, usually something intangible. I'm worried that Sarah will want to take an axe to her whole project after hearing your criticism. Congress is going to take an axe to some of the existing laws once the new term starts. I'm afraid I'm going to have to take an axe to the treehouse since it's so rotted.
See also: axe, take

get axed

Fig. to get fired. Betty and two of her friends got axed today.
See also: axe, get

have an ax(e) to grind

Fig. to have something to complain about. Tom, I need to talk to you. I have an ax to grind. Bill and Bob went into the other room to argue. They had an axe to grind.
See also: ax, grind, have

old battle-axe

a bossy old woman. She is such an old battle-axe. I'll bet she's hell to live with.
See also: old

have an ax to grind

also have an axe to grind
1. to have a selfish reason for saying or doing something The best reporting is done by people who don't have an ax to grind. After you get the same complaints from a number of people, you begin to think it may not be just people who have personal axes to grind.
2. to have a strong opinion about something that influences your actions I don't have an ax to grind about the fact that Christmas has become commercialized.
See also: ax, grind, have

get the axe

  also be given the axe
1. if a person gets the axe, they lose their job Senior staff are more likely to get the axe because the company can't afford their high salaries.
2. if a plan or a service gets the axe, it is stopped My research project was the first thing to be given the ax when the new boss took over.
See also: axe, get

have an axe to grind

to have a strong opinion about something, which you are often trying to persuade other people is correct As a novelist, he has no political axe to grind.
See also: axe, grind, have


n. a musical instrument. (Originally a saxophone.) Get out your axe and let’s jam.

axe to grind

A selfish or ulterior aim: He claimed to be disinterested, but I knew he had an axe to grind.
See also: axe, grind
References in classic literature ?
She was much amazed when she heard that all the wood was cut down, and saw the axe unbroken in his hand, and since she could not believe that he had done all this by himself, she questioned him narrowly if he had seen or spoken to the black girl.
Morning had hardly dawned when the Fairy awoke the Prince, and giving him the glass axe again she told him to cut up all the wood he had felled the day before, and to put it in bundles ready for firewood; at the same time she warned him once more against approaching or speaking a word to the black girl if he met her in the wood.
Full of hope he hurried across the bridge, and recognised at once the spot where the castle was to stand, for spades, hammers, axes, and every other building implement lay scattered on the ground ready for the workman's hand, but of gold, silver, and precious stones there was not a sign.
But the Tin Woodman set to work with his axe and chopped so well that soon he cleared a passage for the entire party.
Thereupon the Wicked Witch enchanted my axe, and when I was chopping away at my best one day, for I was anxious to get the new house and my wife as soon as possible, the axe slipped all at once and cut off my left leg.
When I began chopping again, my axe slipped and cut off my right leg.
Once more Twala came on, and as he came our great Englishman gathered himself together, and swinging the big axe round his head with both hands, hit at him with all his force.
Nothing can resist your kind heart and your sharp axe.
The Scarecrow stepped forward and confronted her, while the Tin Woodman leaned upon his axe and the others formed a half-circle back of his Majesty's person.
The Tin Woodman's axe was snatched from his grasp by some person behind him, and he found himself disarmed and helpless.
He recovered the axe in the midst of the Milky Way of checks, starched shirts, and manuscripts, and prepared, when he came down, to kill Joe.
Saint Mary Axe,' Fledgeby put in, as he wiped away the tears that trickled from his eyes, so rare was his enjoyment of his secret joke.
Saint Mary Axe, or of somebody: which is far from our intention.
As for getting the axe, that trifling business cost him no anxiety, for nothing could be easier.
When he reached the landlady's kitchen, the door of which was open as usual, he glanced cautiously in to see whether, in Nastasya's absence, the landlady herself was there, or if not, whether the door to her own room was closed, so that she might not peep out when he went in for the axe.