Definition of froe in English:



  • A cleaving tool with a handle at right angles to the blade.

    • ‘Using a froe requires a maul or similar mallet which is usually wood or rubber, and soft enough not to damage the metal of the froe.’
    • ‘Shafts could be ripped by handsaw from one-inch planks cut with a pit saw, or they were sometimes split from a billet with a froe, or wedge.’
    • ‘Once the froe has begun to split the wood, the woodworker uses the handle of the froe as a lever by pushing and pulling the handle to and fro to force the wood apart.’
    • ‘A beetle and froe were used for cleaving the sawn pieces, then a hatchet and drawshave were needed to roughly shape the lengths of wood; finally a pole lathe and various turning chisels finished off the work.’
    • ‘My understanding is that you get a dry section of the wood you will use for shingles, put it on a surface at waist level, hold the handle of the froe in your left hand with the blade facing you.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the froe has become virtually obsolete since power-driven splitters were introduced.’
    • ‘This is accomplished by levering the handle of the froe so that blade's heel presses against the massive side of the split.’


Late 16th century: abbreviation of obsolete frower, from froward in the sense ‘turned away’.