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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ They hewed a huge cross from a tree.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Hew \Hew\, n. Destruction by cutting down. [Obs.]

Of whom he makes such havoc and such hew.


Hew \Hew\, n.

  1. Hue; color. [Obs.]

  2. Shape; form. [Obs.]


Hew \Hew\ (h[=u]), v. t. [imp. Hewed (h[=u]d); p. p. Hewed or Hewn (h[=u]n); p. pr. & vb. n. Hewing.] [AS. he['a]wan; akin to D. houwen, OHG. houwan, G. hauen, Icel. h["o]ggva, Sw. hugga, Dan. hugge, Lith. kova battle, Russ. kovate to hammer, forge. Cf. Hay cut grass, Hoe.]

  1. To cut with an ax; to fell with a sharp instrument; -- often with down, or off.

  2. To form or shape with a sharp instrument; to cut; hence, to form laboriously; -- often with out; as, to hew out a sepulcher.

    Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn.
    --Is. li. 1.

    Rather polishing old works than hewing out new.

  3. To cut in pieces; to chop; to hack.

    Hew them to pieces; hack their bones asunder.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English heawan "to chop, hack, gash" (class VII strong verb; past tense heow, past participle heawen), earlier geheawan, from Proto-Germanic *hawwan (cognates: Old Norse hoggva, Old Frisian hawa, Old Saxon hauwan, Middle Dutch hauwen, Dutch houwen, Old High German houwan, German hauen "to cut, strike, hew"), from PIE root *kau- "to hew, strike" (cognates: Old Church Slavonic kovo, Lithuanian kauju "to beat, forge;" Latin cudere "to strike, beat;" Middle Irish cuad "beat, fight").\n

\nWeak past participle hewede appeared 14c., but hasn't displaced hewn. Seemingly contradictory sense of "hold fast, stick to" (in phrase hew to) developed from hew to the line "stick to a course," literally "cut evenly with an axe or saw," first recorded 1891. Related: Hewed; hewing.


Etymology 1 vb. 1 (context transitive English) To chop away at; to whittle down; to mow down. 2 (context transitive English) To shape; to form. 3 (context transitive US English) To act according to, to conform to; ''usually construed with'' (term: to). Etymology 2

n. 1 (context obsolete English) hue; colour 2 (context obsolete English) shape; form 3 Destruction by cutting down.

  1. v. make or shape as with an axe; "hew out a path in the rock" [syn: hew out]

  2. strike with an axe; cut down, strike; "hew an oak"

  3. [also: hewn]


Hew is a masculine given name. Notable people with the name include:

  • Hew Ainslie (1792–1878), Scottish poet
  • Hew Dalrymple, Lord North Berwick (1652–1737), Scottish judge and politician
  • Sir Hew Dalrymple, 2nd Baronet (1712-1790), Scottish politician, grandson of the above
  • Hew Dalrymple (advocate) (c. 1740–1774), Scottish advocate, poet and Attorney-General of Grenada
  • Sir Hew Dalrymple, 3rd Baronet (1746–1800), Scottish politician, son of the 2nd Baronet
  • Sir Hew Dalrymple, 1st Baronet, of High Mark (1750–1830), British Army general
  • Hew Hamilton Dalrymple (1857–1945), Scottish politician
  • Hew Dalrymple Fanshawe (1860-1957), British Army First World War general
  • Hew Fraser (1877-1938), British field hockey player and politician
  • Hew Raymond Griffiths (born 1962), a ring leader of DrinkOrDie or DOD, an underground software piracy network
  • Sir Hew Dalrymple-Hamilton, 4th Baronet (1774–1834), British politician
  • Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple, 10th Baronet (born 1926), retired British officer and former Lord Lieutenant of East Lothian
  • Hew Locke (born 1959), British-Guyanese sculptor and visual artist
  • Hew Lorimer (1907–1993), Scottish sculptor
  • Hew Pike (born 1943), retired British Army lieutenant-general
  • Hew Dalrymple Ross (1779–1868), British Army field marshal
  • Hew Scott (1791–1872), minister of the Church of Scotland
  • Hew Strachan (born 1949), Scottish military historian

Usage examples of "hew".

Meguet chose a sword from the wall of ceremonial swords forged for each Holder, and then held the Cygnet away from the wall until, bending, Hew had carried the fire safely through the small door.

This we followed for about five paces, when it suddenly widened out into a small chamber, about eight feet square, and hewn out of the living rock.

On each side of this particular rock-chamber was a long and solid stone table, about three feet wide by three feet six in height, hewn out of the living rock, of which it had formed part, and was still attached to at the base.

But on the other hand they were as broad as they were high, built entirely of dressed stone, hewn, no doubt, from the vast caves, and surrounded by a great moat about sixty feet in width, some reaches of which were still filled with water.

He could ride for miles, breathing deep the smell of sweat, pitch, and hewn wood, before glimpsing the end of them.

Cranstoun now rushed up the dark stairs, followed by Gowrie, two Ruthvens, Hew Moncrieff, Patrick Eviot, and perhaps others.

They rummaged the near-by woods for better stones, while Milt cut a post of the rot-resisting hackmatack and hewed it square.

Let vs returne then to the huge Pyramides, standing vpon a strong and sound plynth or foure square foote, fourteene paces in heigth, and in length sixe furlongs, which was the foundation and bottom of the weightie pyramides, which I perswaded my selfe was not brought from any other place, but euen with plaine labour and workemanship hewen out of the selfe same mountaines, and reduced to this figure and proportion in his owne proper place.

Mountaines lifted vp themselues, afterwarde continuing to abrupt and wilesome hilly places, full of broken and nybled stones, mounting vppe into the ayre, as high as a man might looke to, and without any greene grasse or hearbe, and there were hewen out the three gates, in the verie rocke it selfe, euen as plaine as might be.

Skafloc and Goltan led the way shield by shield, hewing over the rims.

His sword screamed and crashed, hewing enemies as a woodman hews saplings, a blur of blue flame in the night.

An elf fell to his axe, he twisted the edge loose and struck at another, smashed the face of a third with its beakhewing, hewing, he waded into battle.

At times, when the force ahead stemmed it for a moment and the force behind continued to push on, it rose in the center until horses were lifted from the ground, and then those behind sought to climb over the backs of those in front, until the latter were borne to earth and the others passed over their struggling forms, or the obstacle before gave way and the flood smoothed out and passed along again between the flashing banks of Julian blades, hewing, ever hewing, at the surging Kalkar stream.

Yet they stood firm against the armored horsemen, their axes working methodically, as if they were hewing timber rather than men.

The Namdaleni drove deep into the ranks of their opponents, thrusting Makurani from the saddle, overbearing their horses, and hewing them down with great, sweeping swordstrokes.