Word of the Day : October 19, 2017
hew \HYOO\ verb
1 : to cut or fell with blows (as of an ax)
2 : to give form or shape to with or as if with an ax
3 : conform, adhere
"He is best known stateside for the … productions of 'Twelfth Night' and 'Richard III' that he brought to Broadway in 2013, which hewed as closely as possible to the staging choices made at the turn of the 17th century." — Eric Grode, The New York Times, 5 Sept. 2017
"Although the novel hews to the broad outlines of the Drumgold investigation, Lehr takes major liberties with the story, inventing plot twists, scenes, and characters…." — Malcolm Gay, The Boston Globe, 7 Sept. 2017
Did You Know?
Hew is a strong, simple word of Anglo-Saxon descent. It can suggest actual ax-wielding, or it can be figurative: "If … our ambition hews and shapes [our] new relations, their virtue escapes, as strawberries lose their flavor in garden-beds" (Ralph Waldo Emerson). It's easy to see how the figurative "shape" sense of hew developed from the literal "hacking" sense, but what does chopping have to do with adhering and conforming? That sense first appeared in the late 1800s in the phrase "hew to the line." The "hew line" is a line marked along the length of a log indicating where to chop in order to shape a beam. "Hewing to the line," literally, is cutting along the mark—adhering to it—until the side of the log is squared.
Aired October 19, 2017
- Recommended Recommended
- History & In Progress History
- Browse Library
- Most Popular Library
Get Personalized Recommendations
Let us help you figure out what to learn! By taking a short interview you’ll be able to specify your learning interests and goals, so we can recommend the perfect courses and lessons to try next.Start Interview
You don't have any lessons in your history.
Just find something that looks interesting and start learning!