a short-handled axe with a spike at the back, formerly used in naval warfare for boarding, resisting boarders, and cutting ropes.
a butcher’s axe with a hammer head at the back, used to slaughter animals.
hit, kill, or knock down with or as if with a poleaxe:the tigress had fallen to my bullet as if poleaxed
cause great shock to:I was poleaxed by this revelation
Middle English: related to Middle Dutch pol(l)aex, Middle Low German pol(l)exe(see poll, axe). The change in the first syllable was due to association with pole1; the first element poll- may have referred to a special head of the axe or to the head of an enemy
poleaxe in other Oxford dictionaries
Definition of poleaxe in the US English dictionary