If you're a lumberjack, the word hew is nothing new. You hew things every day with one swift swing of the axe, chopping and shaping wood.

It's said that Paul Bunyan hewed the Grand Canyon by dragging his giant mythical axe behind him. But usually things are hewn with a little more purpose — with each chop and cut designed to shape, sculpt, or craft a final product. Take the axe out of the picture though, and this word takes on a different meaning. If you're trying to adhere to rules, stick to a budget, or conform to a certain tradition, you can use hew, too.

Definitions of hew

v make or shape as with an axe

hew out a path in the rock”
hew out
rough-hew, roughcast
hew roughly, without finishing the surface
Type of:
form by carving

v strike with an axe; cut down, strike

hew an oak”
hew jaggedly
Type of:
deliver a sharp blow, as with the hand, fist, or weapon

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