A strong-willed, argumentative woman, typically older in age, who is considered overbearing or domineering. My grandmother was always the matriarch of the entire family, an old battle-axe who answered to no one but God. I gained a reputation of being a bit of a battle ax in the office because of how outspoken and unbending I am about certain issues.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
a bossy old woman. She is such an old battle-axe. I'll bet she's hell to live with.
See also: old
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
A bossy, combative woman. Obviously referring to the ancient weapon, the figurative usage dates from the late 1800s. For example, “That battle-ax of a secretary guards her boss so no one can get in to see him.” The cliché is now heard less often and may be dying out.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer