A hatchet is a little ax used for chopping wood or for hewing a round log into a squared-off shape. If you go camping, you might take a hatchet with you.

If someone hands you a hatchet and tells you to start splitting a pile of firewood, they expect you to chop each log into smaller pieces. The difference between a hatchet and an ax is that hatchets have short handles and are meant to be held in one hand. Axes have longer handles for two-handed chopping. If someone wants to "bury the hatchet," it's not a threat—they just want to end an argument and be friends.

Definitions of hatchet
  1. noun
    a small ax with a short handle used with one hand (usually to chop wood)
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    broad hatchet
    a short-handled hatchet with a broad blade opposite a hammerhead
    claw hatchet
    a hatchet that has a cleft for pulling nails
    half hatchet
    a hatchet with a broad blade on one end and a hammer head of the other
    type of:
    ax, axe
    an edge tool with a heavy bladed head mounted across a handle
  2. noun
    weapon consisting of a fighting ax; used by North American Indians
    synonyms: tomahawk
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    type of:
    arm, weapon, weapon system
    any instrument or instrumentality used in fighting or hunting
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