Definition of poleax in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpōˌlaks/
(also poleaxe)


1 another term for battle-ax (sense 1).
Example sentences
  • Both demons wore heavy, dark armour, covered in spikes, and brandished long poleaxes.
  • After getting hit a few times with the poleaxe and half-moon blades, she'd taken out her opponents in under five minutes, the second in less than three.
1.1A short-handled ax with a spike at the back, formerly used in naval warfare for boarding, resisting boarders, and cutting ropes.
1.2A butcher’s ax with a hammerhead at the back, used to slaughter animals.


[with object]
1Hit, kill, or knock down with or as if with a poleax.
Example sentences
  • The missile hit him full on the knee, poleaxing him to the ground, and ricocheted into the river.
  • If a rugby player or boxer had spent almost 15 minutes unconscious after a taking a heavy tackle or being poleaxed by a crushing right hook, the minimum rest period would be a month.
  • Having poleaxed the thug, she sauntered off, leaving the detail of his detainment to two remarkably civic-minded passers-by.
1.1Cause great shock to (someone): I was poleaxed by this revelation
More example sentences
  • I was just stunned by how the gaps in his answers didn't seem like he was thinking, but that he was poleaxed.
  • Colonel Anderson looked like he'd been poleaxed when he heard you laugh for the first time, when you slipped and I barely caught you that time.


Middle English: related to Middle Dutch pol(l)aex, Middle Low German pol(l)exe (see poll, ax). 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 ax or to the head of an enemy.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pole·ax

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