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 This American slang was inspired by temperance activist Carrie Nation and is now considered offensive and outdated.

Definitions of battle-ax
  1. noun
    a broadax used as a weapon
    synonyms: battle-axe
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    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. noun
    a sharp-tongued domineering wife
    synonyms: battle-axe
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    type of:
    married woman, wife
    a married woman; a man's partner in marriage
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