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axe to grind

axe to grind

Date: Jun 05 2008

Themes: Pop Culture


1. Quote - Listen to the quote and guess what the slang means.

“I don’t have a particular political axe to grind.”

- Comedian Stephen Colbert on maintaining neutrality on the Colbert Report. (60 Minutes)


1. Definition - Study the definition.

a secret purpose or ulterior motive; a disagreement to settle with someone

2. Use - Learn how the slang is used.

There’s an old story that Ben Franklin, one of the founders of the United States, had a grindstone, a rock that was used for sharpening blades. One day a man came to Franklin and asked him how the grindstone worked. In order to explain how it worked, Franklin sharpened the man’s axe. Now, do you think the man really wanted to know how the stone worked, or do you just think he wanted his axe sharpened?

So if you show up someplace claiming that you have one purpose, while secretly you have another, you have an axe to grind. Every day on The Colbert Report, Steven Colbert reports the news in a funny way. He says a lot of crazy things and it’s difficult to know what he actually believes. But what he believes isn’t actually the point. He doesn’t have an axe to grind or a particular viewpoint he’s trying to sell. He just wants you to laugh.


1. Examples - Hear some example sentences.

“A man came into my shop today and was asking a lot of questions. I’m not sure what he wanted, but he seemed to have an axe to grind.

“I don’t think she really likes him. I think she has an axe to grind and that’s why she’s dating him. “


1. Winners - See who guessed the slang definition correctly.

hands_1411 have an axe to grind = to have a great opinion about something so that you can make people believe that thing is right.
by hands_1411
Romy2611 a hidden reason
by Romy2611
cooleric something that is intended, an aim or a purpose
by cooleric
felixvjr Personal interest/opinion.
by felixvjr
Pavlionka to have particular goals, motives
by Pavlionka
abuhaseeb he means that he doesn't have grievance or resentment with any political leader ...
by abuhaseeb
to have a strong personal opinion about something which is the reason why you do something.
by musicalmaniac
having an ulterior purpose
by valentina79

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but what is axe to grind

02:47 PM Jun 11 2008 |


Russian Federation

All politics of all countries have an axe to grind.

12:29 PM Jun 10 2008 |



having a second thought

11:23 PM Jun 09 2008 |

Mr. Pmosh

Mr. Pmosh

Dominican Republic

I dump a girlfriend because I felt she has an axe to grind.

03:34 PM Jun 06 2008 |




with an ulterior motive!

02:20 PM Jun 05 2008 |

Linda Liang



06:36 AM Jun 05 2008 |





04:03 AM Jun 05 2008 |

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