battle axe

Definition: A forceful or domineering woman

Example: Mrs. Peabody was a fearsome old battle-axe and ruled her classroom like Attila the Hun.


Iddy’s pretty sure that this is a phrase used solely by men to describe women. He can’t imagine women using it. Then again, Iddy’s not usually privy to many woman to woman conversations.

Battle-axe refers to something fearsome and cutting. There is a similar phrase to describe someone with a cutting manner of speaking; ‘sharp tongued’.

Our particular idiom goes back to the last years of the nineteenth century, but may have been reinforced by one particular woman, Carrie Nation. Mrs Nation was involved in the temperance movement, a social reform group that was opposed to the drinking of alcohol. She lived at Hatchet Hall, published a magazine ‘The Hatchet’, a newsletter ‘The Smasher’s Mail’, and even carried a hatchet as a symbol. No, actually it was more than a symbol. She was arrested more than 30 times for using that very same hatchet to smash up fixtures at bars during her protests. While singing and praying. She called these incidents her ‘hatchetations’.

She sounds a bit fierce. But Iddy’s tooled up and ready for her!

Leave a Reply