- Ax and axe are both correct spellings.
- American publications prefer ax, while British English-speaking countries prefer axe.
- Ax or axe refers to a tool used for chopping or a musician’s instrument.
- Several popular idioms contain the word axe, including “get the axe” and “axe to grind.”
Is it ax or axe? Never has one little letter caused so much self-doubt. While some grammar questions linger because of their complexity, this situation is the exact opposite. Here’s the last word on which spelling is correct and how you can ensure you’re using axe or ax properly each and every time.
Could you say we’re cutting to the chase? Chopping down the myths? Helping you keep your mind sharp? We could because we’re punny like that.
Is it Ax or Axe?
Well, it’s both. There’s no need to rip out your hair while debating the merits of ax or axe. They’re simply two spellings of the same word! They’re pronounced the same, and they carry the same meaning—or meanings, actually, but more on that in a moment.
It’s also worth noting that both spellings look the same when used in their plural forms.
How do you Spell Ax the Tool?
What is an ax anyway? Both ax and axe can be used to refer to the tool lumberjacks use to chop down trees.
The first example features the spelling more commonly used in the United States. The second example uses the axe spelling more frequently found in British English.
Is Ax a Word?
Yes! Ax is very much a word, as is axe. The only difference between the two terms is that British English prefers the ‘e’ at the end, while American English skips it. Both can be used as a noun or a verb.
First, ax or axe refers to a long-handled chopping tool typically used to fell trees and cut wood.
You can also use ax or axe as a fun way to describe a musical instrument. This bit of slang is particularly appropriate when referring to a rock or jazz musician’s guitar.
Axe and ax can also be used as verbs. If you axe something, you might be canceling or ending it.
We can also use ax or axe to describe the action of cutting something or using the tool called an axe.
What Does it Mean to “Get the Ax”? (Plus Some Other Fun Phrases)
It turns out that you can find ax or axe used quite frequently in idioms. Here are a few common ones:
Get the Axe: If someone or something is getting the ax, they’re getting fired or otherwise ended.
The same phrase could be used to indicate something that’s abruptly stopped, such as a performance.
An Axe to Grind: Having an axe to grind means having a strong personal opinion and/or ulterior motive. The person in question is likely doing something for an underlying reason.
It could also mean having a complaint that you want to discuss with the offender.
An Axe Hanging Over Something/Something
If something has an axe hanging over their head, they’re likely in danger of being fired.
The same phrase can be used to refer to something inanimate, such as a project.
The bottom line? The axe vs. ax debate isn’t that serious. Feel free to use either version. If you’re particularly concerned about aligning with local dialect, go with the spelling that’s more popular in your area.