One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An ice ax.
- ‘The term ‘ice-pick’ is currently used to mean both the mountaineer's axe or piolet and a kind of awl for chipping off bits of ice for drinking purposes.’
- ‘On the other hand, if you fall, drop your piolet aside from you to avoid injuries.’
Mid 19th century: from French dialect, literally ‘little pick’, diminutive of piolo; related to pioche ‘pickax’.
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