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"get the axe"

Posted by Paul G on November 17, 2000

In Reply to: "Get the axe" posted by ESC on November 15, 2000

: : : : I know "get the axe" means to be fired or eliminated from employment, but who knows the derivation of this phrase?

: : : I couldn't find this phrase in my reference books. But it seems obvious to me that it refers to a tree being cut down. A tree is "felled." An employee is fired.

: : Unless it's the executioner's axe we're speaking of.... just as final, but more vivid.

: Yes, you're right. I was thinking nonviolent -- a woodsman felling a tree. But executioner does make more sense.

Well, I am not sure about 'non-viloent', I expect not from the tree's point of view, nor even the birds or animals that may be living in it.

That aside, another origin is perhaps the chopping off of a chook's head on the chopping block. (Sorry, 'chook' is a slang generic for 'chicken, hen, rooster' here in Australia, maybe not in your neck of the woods.)