Definition of hew in English:



  • 1[with object] Chop or cut (something, especially wood) with an ax, pick, or other tool.

    ‘we have finished hauling and hewing timber’
    • ‘A girl is regarded as grown up when she can cultivate food gardens, hew wood, carry water, and look after her family and family members even when her mother is absent.’
    • ‘Their outside walls are constructed of great, roughly hewn stones fitted together without mortar, and the interior space is divided into a series of connected apses.’
    • ‘Her husband is unemployed and tries to provide for his family by making special picture frames out of roughly hewn pieces of wood with their bark still attached.’
    • ‘The girls are expected to help their mothers in drawing water, hewing wood, and plastering houses.’
    • ‘He had no sooner set about the preliminaries - the getting of suitable marble for his work - than he began to quarrel with the men who were to hew it.’
    • ‘The English were looting the Spanish, transforming the cash gained by selling off their medieval patrimony, and the coal hewn from their provinces, into a truly extraordinary epoch in human culture.’
    • ‘It's hard work climbing mountains and hewing wood.’
    • ‘Freshly hewn laterite blocks lay piled up one side of the courtyard.’
    • ‘The stone was instead hewn from the 400m-year-old sandstone rocks around Scone.’
    • ‘Dr Stanley's grave is marked by a very impressive piece of rock which I understand was hewn from a site in Matebeland.’
    • ‘The object of this is to provide clearance for the hand and knuckles when hewing the log.’
    • ‘For thousands of years it has been hewn from the earth and fashioned into everything from buildings and roads to weapons and sculpture.’
    • ‘My mother ran a small country store while my father hewed stone, a trade he learned in Concord, New Hampshire, where they met and married in 1895.’
    • ‘In the centuries that followed, as Buddhism took root in the jungles of Southeast Asia, no lesser architectural wonders were carved from hewn sandstone and granite.’
    chop, hack, chop down, hack down, cut down, saw down, fell, lop, axe, cleave
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    1. 1.1Make or shape (something) by cutting or chopping a material such as wood or stone.
      ‘a seat hewn out of a fallen tree trunk’
      • ‘The two statues in Bamiyan, 175 and 120 feet tall, are hewn from the side of a mountain.’
      • ‘But Paisley was hewn from an equally tough working class background, was just as canny, had the best transfer market record, and won the European Cup more times than the rest of them combined.’
      • ‘The Great Ocean Road was hewn from the cliffs and forests between 1919 and 1932 by returned soldiers from World War I.’
      • ‘From then on, generations of disciples laboured with hand tools to hew giant temples, intricate statues and monasteries of up to three storeys.’
      • ‘Rising vertically from the plains, some of these huge monoliths soar to a height of 400 metres, and the squat buildings on top of each appear to be hewn out of living rock.’
      • ‘The emergence of the Greek revival style is evidenced by the rear piazza, which was supported by four Roman Doric columns, each hewn from a solid log.’
      • ‘A rare shot of one of Ypsilanti's earliest pioneers, standing proudly - if somewhat awkwardly - next to his roughly hewn log cabin.’
      • ‘His builders knew how to hew underground chambers without support, and they are still standing.’
      • ‘Each statue was hewn out of hard volcanic material from quarries near the Rano Raraku volcano.’
      • ‘There is a Greek open air theatre, the largest in Europe, hewn out of the rock and originally seating 15,000 people.’
      • ‘In January 1504 half of the remaining crew mutinied and departed for Hispaniola, attempting to make the hundred-mile passage in canoes hewn from local timber.’
      • ‘Hand-crafted boats used by Yami fishermen are hewn from 27 pieces of wood.’
      • ‘Beds are set on platforms or suspended from ceilings, bathtubs are hewn from blocks of black granite or pale limestone, and the bare wood floorboards are wide, limed and lacquered.’
      • ‘‘Coming to the place where he lived for so long, you feel something,’ he added, glancing around the two roughly hewn chambers, bereft of any potential creature comfort.’
      • ‘A Memorial is being created to Second World War resistance fighters who helped Allied servicemen escape from the Nazis into neutral Spain - hewn out of rock from the same mountains they had to cross to make their getaway.’
      • ‘It is hewn from local stone, has giant timber beams and large fireplaces, but has no turrets or moats.’
      • ‘After walking through river flats, they hiked up a steep slope strewn with rock rubble toward a structure hewn out of the side of the canyon.’
      • ‘The road was now a stony, unsurfaced single track that had been hewn out of the sheer mountainside, hundreds of metres above the valley floor.’
      • ‘We then descended 140 metres to the pit bottom and entered roadways hewn out of the rock more than 100 years ago.’
      • ‘Mr Raha, when he was called on to build it, designed a long double-ended whaler, with a wide beam, and a keel hewn from a single log.’
      cut, carve, shape, fashion, form, chip, hammer, chisel, sculpt, sculpture, model, whittle, rough-hew
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  • 2North American [no object] Conform or adhere to.

    ‘some artists took photographs that hewed to more traditional ideas of art’
    • ‘Traditional weddings are still in evidence, but more people plan their own, and minorities hew to their traditional forms.’
    • ‘Yet another of the things that has made political conventions boring is the idea that everyone must stay ‘on message’ and hew to the current campaign strategy.’
    • ‘He hews to the liberal line on universal healthcare and increasing wages, but he has displayed more interest in the subject of international crime.’
    • ‘Firms with more than 50 employees are required to hew to certain quotas based on race, gender, and physical disability.’
    • ‘A successful woman nominee from either party has to be fairly mainstream on issues, hewing to the center, which would alienate Democratic liberals and Republican social conservatives.’
    • ‘But the battle in global markets means hewing to tougher rules.’
    • ‘If cable systems operators intend to remain competitive with satellite and telephone rivals, they'll need equipment that hews to this improved standard.’
    • ‘Two years later, 40.6% of whites still hew to that belief, but only 23.9% of blacks now agree.’
    • ‘More broadly, it can allow firms in mature markets to grow their revenues far more rapidly than they could by hewing to their existing lines of business.’
    • ‘And I think over the long haul, if he hews to the middle-ground course that he has taken over the last 14 days that we'll do pretty well.’
    • ‘A movie based on or inspired by historical events is always judged on two levels - the extent to which the film hews to historical accuracy, and the larger meaning that is derived from the current context through which the film is viewed.’
    • ‘Commissioner Smith hews to the traditional American view that political speech should be unregulated.’
    • ‘He also lived in a housing co-operative that struggled to involve its members in running the place, hewing to the principle that the people who are affected by decisions should make those decisions.’
    • ‘I'd love to know how closely the story hews to known facts.’
    • ‘It's not about using a trick to get her to sleep - it's about getting her to sleep in her crib, hewing to a regular nap schedule.’
    • ‘The director hews to tradition by having his lead singers on stage only two or three times a week.’
    • ‘If Ellis abandons his ill-advised notion of taking advice from the industry and hews to the sentiments he has expressed in the past, he'd be off to a fast start.’
    • ‘CNN is seeking to establish itself as a non-ideological purveyor of pure news, while Fox News Channel has adopted a broadcast style that clearly hews to the right.’
    • ‘The Los Angeles Times interpreted the election outcome to mean that if Republicans continued to hew to the conservative line, ‘they will remain a minority party indefinitely.’’
    • ‘Any Democrat who hews to that thinking is giving Bush a free pass to the next inaugural.’


Old English hēawan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch houwen and German hauen.

Definition of HEW in English:


  • (Department of) Health, Education, and Welfare.