- The definition of hew is to chop, cut or shape something with an ax, or to conform or adhere.
- When a tree falls down on your property and you cut and shape it until it becomes a little bench to sit on, this is an example of a time when you hew.
- When a romance writer sticks rigidly to the formula of boy-meets-girl, then gets-girl, then loses girl, this is an example of a time when the author hews to traditional literary ideals.
transitive verbhewed, hewed or hewn, hewing
- to chop or cut with an ax, knife, etc.; hack; gash
- to make or shape by or as by cutting or chopping with an ax, etc.: often with out
- to chop (a tree) with an ax so as to cause it to fall: usually with down
Origin of hewMiddle English hewen ; from Old English heawan, akin to German hauen, Old High German houwan ; from Indo-European base an unverified form kāu-, an unverified form keu-, to hew, strike from source hay, Classical Latin caudex, codex, cudere
- to make cutting or chopping blows with an ax, knife, etc.
- ☆ to conform or adhere (to a line, rule, principle, etc.)
verbhewed hewed, hewn hewn or hewed, hew·ing, hews
- To make or shape with or as if with an ax: hew a path through the underbrush.
- To cut down with an ax; fell: hew an oak.
- To strike or cut; cleave.
- To cut something by repeated blows, as of an ax.
- To adhere or conform strictly; hold: hew to the line.
Origin of hewMiddle English hewen, from Old English hēawan; see kau- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present hews, present participle hewing, simple past hewed or rarely hew, past participle hewed or hewn)
From Middle English hewen, from Old English hēawan, from Proto-Germanic *hawwaną, from Proto-Indo-European *keh₂u- (“to strike, hew, forge”). Cognate with Scots hew, hewe, West Frisian houwe, Dutch houwen, German hauen, Swedish hugga, Icelandic höggva; and with Latin cūdō (“strike, beat, pound, forge”), Lithuanian káuti (“to beat, forge”), Albanian hu (“a club, pole”). See also hoe.
- Destruction by cutting down.
- A patronymic surname.