an ax(e) hanging over (someone or something)(redirected from ax hanging over them)
an ax(e) hanging over (someone or something)
1. The threat of being fired. There's definitely going to be an axe hanging over me if the boss finds out that printing error was my fault. Tommy already had an axe hanging over him, so I'm not surprised he got fired after showing up late again today. You're the one who messed up that account? Hoo boy, you've got an ax hanging over you now!
2. The threat of being destroyed or ended. I worry that there's an axe hanging over our initiative now that our funding's been slashed. If we still don't have positive results to show the board by Friday, I worry that there will be an axe hanging over our whole project. If the dictator has set his sights on his neighbor to the west, there's an ax hanging over them now.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
an axe hanging over someone
If there is an axe hanging over someone, they are likely to lose their job soon. Note: `Axe' is spelled `ax' in American English. I wouldn't say there's an axe hanging over him but he's only got another season to put everything right.
an axe hanging over something
If there is an axe hanging over something, that thing is likely to be destroyed or ended soon. Note: `Axe' is spelled `ax' in American English. The axe was hanging over 600 jobs at oil giant BP last night.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012