Definition of battle-ax in US English:


(also battle-axe)


  • 1A large broad-bladed ax used in ancient warfare.

    • ‘They armed themselves with a range of dangerous weapons such as battleaxes and knives deployed in frequent fights for control and authority in and around the mining complexes.’
    • ‘Nordic fighters armed with swords and battleaxes took to the streets, while Viking longships cruised on the River Ouse.’
    • ‘His entire body ached, and his head felt like it had been hit by a battleaxe.’
    • ‘His battleaxe was clipped to his back along with a medium shield, and there were four throwing hammers loosely attached to his plated belt.’
    • ‘Lycoth cleared a path by whirling his two battleaxes.’
    • ‘He tried four keys before Ceallach appeared with a battleaxe.’
    • ‘Armed with a mighty battleaxe, he was among the greatest of us.’
    • ‘He then noticed William returning the battleaxe to its pegs above the mantelpiece.’
    • ‘So, when the Rebellion breaks out, he is more than ready to grasp the notched handle of his old battleaxe and leap to his country's defence.’
    • ‘Most of the Order of Tomanâk's knights were medium or heavy horse who fought with lance, sword, battleaxe, or mace.’
    • ‘Weaponry consisted of battleaxes, thrusting spears and daggers for the infantry, while the leaders in their battlewagons carry sheafs of javelins.’
    • ‘So is it safe to assume he is pretty handy with a battleaxe now?’
    • ‘Before long, the rest of the trainees had arrived, as had the instructor, and they soon had battleaxes in hand and were following the instructor's directions in rigorous exercises.’
    • ‘As Jane Austen tells it, it is a conflict of battleaxe versus rapier with the old battleaxe comprehensively vanquished.’
    • ‘Under the glass was a 17 by 22 inch original chalk drawing depicting two Nordic warriors skiing down a mountain slope with battleaxes and spears in hand.’
    • ‘He carried a shield, battleaxe, sword, and machine gun in his arms, plus half a dozen other secondary weapons.’
    • ‘Then they pull out their battleaxes and start hacking away.’
    • ‘Kicking herself already, she grasped the battleaxe she had bought on the way to Tuqsan.’
    • ‘He wore hessian tunics and collected replica maces and battleaxes.’
    • ‘Mace and battleaxe heads were given over to carpenters who toiled on stools amidst the wood-shaving strewn floor as they fashioned handles, thongs and grips.’
    poleaxe, axe, pike, halberd, tomahawk, war mattock, mace
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  • 2informal A formidably aggressive older woman.

    • ‘For years it was the lot of the put-upon husband to bemoan the domestic strife caused by the family battleaxe.’
    • ‘So I went to Woolworths (I wasn't going to confront one of those painted battleaxes in House of Fraser) and bought some brown mascara.’
    • ‘Not all of them are insufferable battleaxes addicted to garish jewellery and Vegas weddings, but none of them were smart enough to realise that they were being sent up.’
    • ‘Women in uniform were portrayed as brainless glamour girls, in the military for a good time, or as man-hating battleaxes.’
    • ‘My daily dinner money was nearer 15p, and for that I got a plateful of real food, lovingly produced on the premises by battleaxes in pink hairnets.’
    • ‘She plays an evil, wretched old battleaxe who fires people.’
    • ‘The self-confessed battleaxe, who ferociously defended her husband during their 1997 libel suit, said that she remembered watching the musical in the sixties and that appearing on the TV show made her feel old.’
    • ‘I have never met his wife but I can't believe she is really such a battleaxe, so it must be some weird sort of psychological projection - perhaps his Super Ego speaking?’
    • ‘Christine Hamilton was in Huddersfield to talk to a ladies luncheon club about an appropriate subject - battleaxes.’
    • ‘Bacall's reputation as a take-no-prisoners battleaxe precedes her, after all.’
    • ‘Finally, to earn a living, she plays nanny to Ray, an eight-year-old with emotional issues, who dresses and acts like a fussy old battleaxe.’
    • ‘I'm not some battleaxe, and I need some new blood in this home.’
    • ‘Previous successes include an evening in honour of battleaxes - the term for strong women adopted by Christine Hamilton.’
    • ‘His gallery of types included the domineering battleaxe, the hen-pecked husband, and the pretty, flirtatious girl.’
    • ‘The town's most eligible young widow - well, older than he is by about ten years, but still, far from being the battleaxe he'd imagined her to be - is definitely coming on to him.’
    • ‘Here, Mount played a raging battleaxe, Martha, who, like her sister Mildred, is a widow.’
    harridan, dragon, crone, witch, hag, gorgon, ogress, hellcat, harpy, tartar, martinet, termagant, virago, fury
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