Green’s Dictionary of Slang

axe n.

also ax

1. as a weapon.

(a) (US Und./black) a knife, esp. a switchblade.

[US]C.E. Trevathan ‘Bully of the Town’ [lyrics] I’m going down the street with my ax in my hand, / I’m looking for that bully, and I’ll sweep him off this land [...] I’ll take along my razor, I’m going to carve him deep.
[UK]Yorks. Post 21 July 10/6: ‘With regard to the axe [...] it would account fore the care with which the prisoner himself says he destroyed the head of the woman’ [...] After dealing with the purchase of the knife [etc].
[US]C.G. Givens ‘The Chatter of Guns’ in Sat. Eve. Post 13 Apr.; list extracted in AS VI:2 (1930) 131: ax, n. Knife or razor.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 13: axe A knife.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 20/2: Axe, n. [...] A knife, razor, or similar edged weapon.
[UK]Aberdeen Eve. Exp. 29 Oct. 8/5: Whiteway was show the axe [...] It was a single-edged scout’s sheath knife.
[US]D. Claerbaut Black Jargon in White America 57: ax n. 1. a knife, usually serving as a weapon.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 88: Any sharpened object used to stab or cut someone is referred to as a shank. (Archaic: axe).

(b) (UK Und.) a razor.

[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.

2. (US) the penis; thus axman, a womanizer, a sexual athlete.

[US]Life in Boston & N.Y. (Boston, MA) 11 Apr. n.p.: The Woodchopper Is in town looking round for someone to grind his axe.
[US]Journal of Amer. Folklore 28 138: When I was young and in my prime, / Sunk my axe deep ’most every time.
C. Patton ‘Jersey Bull Blues’ [lyrics] I’ve an old five pound ax / And I’ll cut two different ways / And I cut my little woman / Both night and day.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 50: His [...] axe cast a cruel shadow.
[WI]E. Lovelace Dragon Can’t Dance (1998) 104: It was one of those suggestive calypsos – filled with phallic symbolism [...] The story was about the very best axe man in the island.

3. as the axe/ax, dismissal, an act of dismissal.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 30 July 11/1: If he’d been a little more decent and a lot less selfish and greedy in the past he wouldn’t be so much in danger now of getting the axe.
[US]J. Lait Broadway Melody 85: None of his numbers had felt the axe.
[US]R. Chandler ‘The King in Yellow’ in Spanish Blood (1946) 82: So you finally got the axe.
[US]S. Lewis Kingsblood Royal (2001) 300: Your friend Dexter got the axe.
[US]J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye (1958) 55: Here I was getting the axe again.
[US]F. Kohner Gidget Goes Hawaiian 9: ‘The ax,’ I said. ‘I gave him the ax, Dad. Finished.’ [Ibid.] 42: That’s the way the cookie crumbles, baby. You thought you were giving him the ax, but it turned out the other way around.
[US]T. Southern Blue Movie (1974) 155: I thought I was about to get the ax.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 79: The boss would give me the axe quick if I pulled the shit Omar does.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 25 Feb. 12: When Monty Python’s Life of Brian faced the axe.
T. Perrotta Abstinence Teacher 332: Besides, now that the shock had worn off, she wasn’t quite as upset about getting the axe as she’d expected to be.
[US]Tampa Bay Times (St Petersburg, FL) PM2/3A well-paid executive of a high-end Manhattan firm [...] gets the ax: .

4. as an instrument, musical or otherwise [orig. black jazz use, when instrument more likely saxophone or trumpet; the saxophone supposedly resembles an axe].

(a) (US black) any musical instrument, orig. saxophone, later guitar.

L. Feather Encyc. Jazz (1956) 345: Ax, axe, horn, instrument (usually saxophone).
[US]J. Blake letter 23 Sept. in Joint (1972) 91: The bass man [...] brings his axe into the club often.
[US]Mad mag. Apr. 29: The Cat Who Swings His Own Axe Digs ...
[US]M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 15: ‘Hold my axe, will you, Lee-boy?’ He took Furg’s trombone.
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 240: These cats were blowing their horns, their axes, whatever they had.
[US](con. 1930s–40s) D. Wells Night People 72: It’s funny how my old lady would rather me starve than put my axe down.
[US]L. Bangs in Psychotic Reactions (1988) 104: Settle back hunched in my chair with my axe [i.e. saxophone] lying casually on my crossed legs.
[US]J. Sayles Union Dues (1978) 208: Work that ax [guitar], buddy!
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak 14: Axe – guitar.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 1: ax grinder – heavy metal guitar player.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Real Life 18 July 3: From the busker to the Prime Minister, almost every man seems to own his own axe. The venerable Fender Stratocaster has taken on the status of iconic, classic furniture.
[US]G. Tate Midnight Lightning 15: Trying to push the almighty axe into the wings if not the organ-trio dustbin of musical history.

(b) ext. as any form of ‘tool’ with which one works, i.e. a typewriter.

[US]Esquire Nov. 70: Hemingway’s ax is his typewriter.
[US]L. Bangs in Psychotic Reactions (1988) 144: I lugged my axe – Smith-Corona, Mr. Advertiser! – into the dressing room.

In compounds

axman (n.) (also axe man)

1. (orig. US black) one who carries or wields a knife.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 20/2: axeman [...] one who uses a knife when fighting.

2. (US prison) a barber.

[US]C.G. Givens ‘The Chatter of Guns’ in Sat. Eve. Post 13 Apr.; list extracted in AS VI:2 (1930) 131: axman, n. Prison barber.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 20/2: axeman 1. A prison barber.

3. a musician, esp. a guitarist.

[UK]Eve. Post (Nottingham) 15 Dec. 2/4: Guitarist Albert Lee...slotted in remarkably, swapping subtle licks and fresh ideas with Joan’s regular axeman Jerry Donahue [OED].
[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 27: The demon axe man was standing on the seats, slamming hard into a lapdancer’s face.
axe wound (n.) [note Cleland, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1748–9): ‘His hands convulsively squeez’d, opened, press’d together again the lips and sides of that deep flesh-wound’]

1. the vagina.

[[US]‘J.M. Hall’ Anecdota Americana II 92: Little Alfred saw his mother undressed one day, and asked, ‘Mother, what is that crack between your legs?’ ‘That is where your father hit me with the axe, darling.’ ‘Jeese mom, he almost caught you in the cunt, didn’t he.’].
[UK]Roger’s Profanisaurus in Viz 87 Dec. n.p.: axe wound euph. Vagina.

2. (US teen) used as an insult, see cunt n. (4)

T. Fey Mean Girls [movie script] We could publish it, and then everybody would see what an ax-wound she really is.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

axe-job (n.)

a severe critique or verbal attack.

[UK]Oz 9 3/2: You might still be relishing her axe-job on Arthur Kleps.
axholder (n.)

(US) the hand.

in Wehman’s Bits of Humor 9: ‘I like your face monstrous well. Give me your axholder!’ Trap gave him his hand.