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have an axe to grind

1. To have a complaint or dispute that one feels compelled to discuss. I think the boss has a bit of an axe to grind with you over the way the account was handled.
2. To have a personal motivation or selfish reason for saying or doing something. It was boy's-club attitudes like yours that made my time at school a living hell, so yeah, I have a bit of an axe to grind. I don't have an ax to grind here—I just want to know the truth.
See also: axe, grind, have

get the axe

1. To be fired. I'm going to get the ax if the boss finds out that printing error was my fault.
2. To be ended or stopped abruptly. I'm so disappointed that my favorite show got the axe this year.
See also: axe, get

get the sack

To be fired from a job or task. The new secretary is so rude—it's time she got the sack. I tried so hard to do a good job in Mrs. Smith's garden, but I got the sack anyway.
See also: get, sack

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


 and *ax
dismissal from one's employment. (*Typically: get ~; give someone ~.) Poor Tom got the sack today. He's always late. I was afraid that Sally was going to get the ax.

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

get the ax

Also, get the boot or bounce or can or heave-ho or hook or sack . Be discharged or fired, expelled, or rejected. For example, He got the ax at the end of the first week, or The manager was stunned when he got the boot himself, or We got the bounce in the first quarter, or The pitcher got the hook after one inning, or Bill finally gave his brother-in-law the sack. All but the last of these slangy expressions date from the 1870s and 1880s. They all have variations using give that mean "to fire or expel someone," as in Are they giving Ruth the ax?Get the ax alludes to the executioner's ax, and get the boot to literally booting or kicking someone out. Get the bounce alludes to being bounced out; get the can comes from the verb can, "to dismiss," perhaps alluding to being sealed in a container; get the heave-ho alludes to heave in the sense of lifting someone bodily, and get the hook is an allusion to a fishing hook. Get the sack, first recorded in 1825, probably came from French though it existed in Middle Dutch. The reference here is to a workman's sac ("bag") in which he carried his tools and which was given back to him when he was fired. Also see give someone the air.
See also: ax, get

get the sack

see under get the ax.
See also: get, sack

get the axe


get the chop

1. If someone gets the axe or gets the chop, they lose their job. Note: `Axe' is spelled `ax' in American English. Business managers, executives and technical staff are all getting the axe. I've often wondered whether I'd have got the chop, if I'd stayed long enough to find out. Note: You can also say that someone is given the axe or is given the chop. She was last night given the axe from the hit TV show.
2. If something such as a project or part of a business gets the axe or gets the chop, it is ended suddenly. Note: `Axe' is spelled `ax' in American English. That is one of the TV shows likely to get the axe. Services to major towns and cities across England are getting the chop or being reduced. Note: You can also say that something is given the axe or is given the chop. A few days previously, the Westoe Colliery, the last pit in the region, was given the axe.
See also: axe, get

have an axe to grind

COMMON If someone has an axe to grind, they have particular attitudes about something, often because they think they have been treated badly or because they want to get an advantage. Note: `Axe' is spelled `ax' in American English. Lord Gifford believed cases should be referred by an independent agency which, as he put it, doesn't have an axe to grind. He didn't have a critical ax to grind. He was very open-minded about other people's work. Note: You can also say that you have no axe to grind to deny that your strong opinions about something are based on personal reasons. The unions insist they have no axe to grind, because they will represent operators wherever they work. Note: There are several explanations for the origin of this expression. One is a story told by Benjamin Franklin about a man who managed to get his own axe sharpened by asking a boy to show him how his father's grindstone worked.
See also: axe, grind, have

have an axe to grind

have a private, sometimes malign, motive for doing or being involved in something.
The expression originated in a story told by Benjamin Franklin and was used first in the USA, especially with reference to politics, but it is now in general use.
1997 Times I am a non-smoker, and have no personal axe to grind.
See also: axe, grind, have

have an ˈaxe to grind

(usually used in negative sentences) have private, often selfish, reasons for being involved in something: Having no particular political axe to grind, he stood for election as an independent candidate.
See also: axe, grind, have

get the sack

and get the ax
tv. to be dismissed from one’s employment. Poor Tom got the sack today. He’s always late. If I miss another day, I’ll get the ax.
See also: get, sack

get the ax

See also: ax, get

give someone the ax

1. tv. to dismiss someone from employment. I was afraid they would give me the ax.
2. tv. to divorce someone. She gave him the ax because he wouldn’t stop smoking like he promised.
See also: ax, give


1. n. a bed. I was so tired I could hardly find my sack.
2. tv. to dismiss someone from employment; to fire someone. If I do that again, they’ll sack me.
3. and the sack n. a dismissal. (Always with the in this sense.) The boss gave them all the sack.
4. tv. in football, to tackle the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage. I tried to sack him, but he was too fast.
5. n. the completion of a tackle in football. Andy made the sack on the ten-yard line.
References in periodicals archive ?
Standard product lines feature a fully programmable, compact, high-torque three-axis a-c servo-driven design along with pneumatic or servo-driven rotary auxiliary axes depending on the complexity of handling needs.
To determine what kind of stone the axes were made of, Lu used X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and electron microprobe analysis.
Now, the discovery of ancient hand axes in southern China's Bose basin supports the growing suspicion that hand ax production sometimes crossed what archaeologists call the Movius line.
Standard product lines feature a fully programmable, compact, high-torque three-axis a-c serve-driven design along with pneumatic or serve-driven rotary auxiliary axes depending on the complexity of handling needs.
Akasofu notes, however, that since a planet's rotation is such an important source of energy for its dynamo, the observed large tilts of planetary magnetic fields with respect to their rotation axes pose "a great puzzle.
Several of the New Guinea axes are especially noteworthy, report the scientists in the Dec.
Capabilities available on the Axess include simultaneous motion on all axes, multiple vacuum and pressure circuits to allow degating, selective part placement and other functions.
Models R15 modular cartesian (rectilinear) robot system with 3 to 5 axes and strokes from 4 in.
Integralpicker H series for parts removal/separation operations is integrated into machine guarding and comes in three versions with one to three axes.
One new model employs the latest linear servo technology in a cost-effective hybrid with standard servos on two of the three main axes.
Gantry-style CNC controller systems with up to six axes of motion for high-pressure waterjet cutting, laser cutting, adhesive dispensing, pick-and-place, and welding.
Unlike others on the market, the Sytrama robot has linear drive on all three axes.