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    #1

    use the axe

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentence?

    The manager decided to use the axe to solve his staff problem.

    Use the axe = reduce the establishment; cut down the staff

    Thanks for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V

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    #2

    Re: use the axe

    To me, 'use the axe' is not a set phrase- the key word is axe and it can exist in many formulations- as a verb, or the axe should fall, etc. The meaning's perfectly clear and it works fine.

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    #3

    Re: use the axe

    Hi Tdol,

    I am ready to go down on my marrow bones to you if you show your worth to try to persuade me anyhow that the following phrases are not set phrases by analogy with the phrase “use the ax”.
    get the ax

    Also, get the boot or bounce or can or heave-ho or hook or sack. Be discharged or fired, expelled, or rejected. For example, He got the ax at the end of the first week, or The manager was stunned when he got the boot himself, or We got the bounce in the first quarter, or The pitcher got the hook after one inning, or Bill finally gave his brother-in-law the sack. All but the last of these slangy expressions date from the 1870s and 1880s. They all have variations using give that mean "to fire or expel someone," as in Are they giving Ruth the ax? Get the ax alludes to the executioner's ax, and get the boot to literally booting or kicking someone out. Get the bounce alludes to being bounced out; get the can comes from the verb can, "to dismiss," perhaps alluding to being sealed in a container; get the heave-ho alludes to heave in the sense of lifting someone bodily, and get the hook is an allusion to a fishing hook. Get the sack, first recorded in 1825, probably came from French though it existed in Middle Dutch. The reference here is to a workman's sac ("bag") in which he carried his tools and which was given back to him when he was fired. Also see give someone the air.

    Would you tell me your opinion concerning the following usage of a few set phrases in the following sentences.

    When I see a merchant over-polite to his customers..thinks, that man has an axe to grind.

    Don’t you think it’s foolish for you to stay here? Don’t think it’s anything to m whether you go or stay. I haven’t any ax to grind, but I really wonder why you stay.

    If all other means failed, he could join the bishop against his wife, inspire courageous the unhappy man, lay an axe to the root of the woman’s power and emancipate the husband.

    You revolt at the crimes, cruelties and stupidities of fanatics who endanger and may yet destroy the world. But you are not political. You are hacking at branches with pocket-knives, when you shoul be laying an axe to the root of the trouble.

    Regards,

    V.

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