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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Helve \Helve\, n. [OE. helve, helfe, AS. hielf, helf, hylf, cf. OHG. halb; and also E. halter, helm of a rudder.]

  1. The handle of an ax, hatchet, or adze.

  2. (Iron Working)

    1. The lever at the end of which is the hammer head, in a forge hammer.

    2. A forge hammer which is lifted by a cam acting on the helve between the fulcrum and the head.


Helve \Helve\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Helved; p. pr. & vb. n. Helving.] To furnish with a helve, as an ax.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English helfe, hielfe "handle of an axe" or other tool or weapon, from Proto-Germanic *halb- (cognates: Old Saxon helvi, Middle Dutch helf, Old High German halb "handle of an axe," Old High German helmo "tiller"); related to halter and helm (1), from PIE *kelp- "to hold, grasp." In Middle English, to holden the axe bi the helve (c.1200) meant "to take something by the right end."


n. 1 The handle or haft of a tool or weapon. 2 A forge hammer lifted by a cam acting on the helve between the fulcrum and the head. vb. (context transitive English) To furnish (an axe, etc.) with a helve.


n. the handle of a weapon or tool [syn: haft]

Usage examples of "helve".

When two suitable helves had been selected with great care and the ends of the hafts notched to prevent the hand from slipping, the axe-heads were fixed on them as firmly as possible, and the weapons immersed in a bucket of water for half an hour.

Caballo en Pelo mounted into the actual bed with him and stood there while one of the attending tribunal handed him at his right side a common axe the hickory helve of which was carved with pagan motifs and tasseled with the feathers of predatory birds.

But the axe helves were too long to use in a mob like this, and the axemen's cuirasses of flexible cloth wouldn't even slow down the point of a Roman sword.

When he led the citizens for the last time, he left a swath of the bodies of Made Men the width of both arms and his axe helves all the way from the walls of Ronn to where he fell at the mouth of the Great Ravine.

Cashel didn't see much point in the engraving and gold inlays, but the quality showed in the falling-water sheen of the swordblades and the way the axe heads were shrunk onto the helves instead of just being wedged in place.

I used to think when I watched him at work that his weathered hands and forearms had some sort of kinship with the polished wood of the helves they used.

Two masked men jumped from the shadows, armed with either pick helves or baseball bats or similar weapons.

Therefore, lest he should fall asleep, he set the end of the helve of his mattock on the ground, and seated himself on the cross part, leaning against the wall, so that as long as he kept awake he should rest, but the moment he began to fall asleep he must fall awake instead.

Is it all over, with nothing worse to look forward to now than weak tea, nourishing gruel, short, strengthening walks in the garden and possibly a brief platonic love affair with a ministering angel, or was this all just a moment's blackout and some looming bastard is now about to get down to real business with the thick end of a pickaxe helve?