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Bury the hatchet& have an ax to grind

[ 2011-06-10 09:50]     字号 [] [] []  
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Bury the hatchet& have an ax to grind

Kim Bowden
While some bury the hatchet, others have an ax to grind

Could you explain "bury the hatchet& have an ax to grind"?

My comments:

To bury the hatchet with someone means to make peace and stop fighting, settling your differences. For example, you could say, my brother and I agreed to bury the hatchet after years of arguing. A hatchet is a type of short-handled ax. The saying, to bury the hatchet, is a reference to an American Indian custom, where a hatchet, or tomahawk, was buried in the ground by tribal chiefs to symbolize the end of a battle – although not many native English speakers would be aware of this origin.

Traditionally, an ax would have been taken to a blacksmith to sharpen using a turning grindstone. No one can really pinpoint exactly how it happened, but today, the saying has a much less literal meaning. When someone has an ax to grind they have a point of view, often a selfish one, although often they are not upfront in expressing it. For example, an employee might complain to their boss that a colleague is always late, when really, they are jealous this colleague received a promotion over them. We could say this person had an ax to grind.

Although both sayings are recognized and understood by native English speakers, their usage in everyday conversation is becoming less common.

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Fish or cut bait


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Right down the middle

Take my word for it


Last but not the least

Call it a dog

Pull my leg

Ego bath

Tough call

Rain check

Upper reaches

Off the shoulders

Off and running

Gold dust

Frugality fatigue

Red flag

Foregone conclusion

Call balls and strikes

Stare in the face

Cyber Monday

With a grain of salt

Drive home

Out of nowhere

Shove it under the carpet

the sky is the limit

hit it off

get my rib in my heart


About the author:

Kim Bowden hails from Auckland, New Zealand, where she recently completed AUT University’s Postgraduate Journalism Diploma.