a broadax formerly used as a weapon of war.
Slang. a domineering, aggressive, sharp-tempered person, especially a woman.
Historical Examples

battle-axe, boarding-pike, pistol, and dagger were the weapons.
The Rise of the Dutch Republic, Volume II.(of III) 1566-74 John Lothrop Motley

He had just felled one of the fiercest Amalekites with his battle-axe.
Joshua, Complete Georg Ebers

I will strike him to the earth with my battle-axe—I will convert him to Holy Church with such blows as he has rarely endured.
The Talisman Sir Walter Scott

Farwell might be compared to a battle-axe; Dunne to a rapier.
Desert Conquest A. M. Chisholm

But the Irish battle-axe might well have set even more secure protection at defiance.
An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 Mary Frances Cusack

Bloodily, bloodily fall the battle-axe, unexhausted, inexorable!
Darkness and Dawn Frederic W. Farrar

“Twere better to have died;” and cleft his skull with one stroke of his battle-axe.
A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

A stroke from some battle-axe had split the head down to the chin.
Belgium George W. T. (George William Thomson) Omond

Metaphorically and actually, the lance and the battle-axe were still rivalling each other in the warfare of daily life.
Of Six Medival Women Alice Kemp-Welch

Where it is still, with the mark of a cut from sword or battle-axe plain to see.
The Church of Grasmere Mary L. Armitt

(formerly) a large broad-headed axe
(informal) an argumentative domineering woman

late 14c., weapon of war, from battle (n.) + axe (n.); meaning “formidable woman” is U.S. slang, first recorded 1896.


An ill-tempered woman, esp a mean old woman; virago (1890s+)

a mallet or heavy war-club. Applied metaphorically (Jer. 51:20) to Cyrus, God’s instrument in destroying Babylon.


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