poleaxe

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See also: pole-axe

English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Originally pollax, from poll (head) +‎ axe.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

poleaxe (plural poleaxes)

  1. An ax having both a blade and a hammer face; used to slaughter cattle.
  2. (historical) A long-handled battle axe, being a combination of ax, hammer and pike.

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Verb[edit]

poleaxe (third-person singular simple present poleaxes, present participle poleaxing, simple past and past participle poleaxed)

  1. (transitive) To fell someone with, or as if with, a poleaxe.
  2. (transitive, figuratively) To astonish; to shock or surprise utterly.
    • 2020 July 26, Sam Jones, “'Everyone is panicking': UK quarantine decision shocks Britons in Spain”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Lisa Griffin, who runs Brew Rock and an Irish pub in nearby Benidorm, was as poleaxed by the announcement as her customers were.
  3. (transitive, figuratively) To stymie, thwart, cripple, paralyze.
    • 2021 September 25, Zanny Minton Beddoes, “The Mess Merkel leaves behind”, in The Economist[2]:
      After a lacklustre campaign that has failed to grapple with Germany’s looming problems, the world should expect post-election coalition talks to last for months, poleaxing European politics while they drag on.

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