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ax to grind

(Redirected from an axe to grind)



Alternative formsEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From a story by Benjamin Franklin in which, a stranger who wanted to sharpen his ax on Franklin's father's grindstone. He was flattered by the stranger into turning the grindstone. After he sharpened the ax, the stranger realised that he was playing truant.


ax to grind (plural axes to grind)

  1. (US) A proposition or point of view to advocate, especially motivated by self-interest.
    • 1976 July 8, New Scientist, volume 71, number 1008, page 77:
      The design has had a rather contentious journey through the various technical committees set up by the EEC to study the problem; individual member nations with particular axes to grind holding up the proceedings at regular intervals.

Etymology 2Edit

A reference to someone sharpening an axe with the intent to kill someone.


ax to grind (plural axes to grind)

  1. (US) A grudge or grievance, with implications of confrontation.

Derived termsEdit

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