battle-ax

A long-handled weapon with a heavy, sharp blade on one end is a battle-ax. Ancient Roman warriors sometimes carried battle-axes when they rode into combat.

Battle-axes evolved from everyday axes used as tools: swinging a heavy blade turns out to be both an effective way to split logs and to fend off a charging enemy. The Vikings, Normans, ancient Chinese warriors, and Napoleonic troops all carried battle-axes. It was once fairly common to demean a forceful older woman by calling her a battle-ax, too. This American slang was inspired by temperance activist Carrie Nation and is now considered offensive and outdated.

Primary Meanings of battle-ax

1.
n
a broadax used as a weapon
2.
n
a sharp-tongued domineering wife
Full Definitions of battle-ax
1

n a broadax used as a weapon

Synonyms:
battle-axe
Types:
Lochaber ax
a battle-ax formerly used by Scottish Highlanders
poleax, poleaxe
a battle ax used in the Middle Ages; a long handled ax and a pick
Type of:
broadax, broadaxe
a large ax with a broad cutting blade
2

n a sharp-tongued domineering wife

Synonyms:
battle-axe
Type of:
married woman, wife
a married woman; a man's partner in marriage

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.