Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Ax

Stone, and later, metal cutting tool. In most cases it is perforated so the it can be attached to a handle. The ax evolved from the pear-shaped coup-de-poing or hand-axe to a flatter, oval object with straight edges, and from a piercing or cutting function to the ax intended to strike a crushing blow. Also spelled axe.

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From "Dictionary of Nursing and Individual Health Care"