Pole-ax, n.

An ax fixed to a pole or handle; or rather a sort of hatchet with a handle about fifteen inches in length, and a point or claw bending downward from the back of its head. It is principally used in actions at sea, to cut away the rigging of the enemy attempting to board; sometimes it is thrust into the side of a ship to assist in mounting the enemy's ship, and it is sometimes called a boarding-ax.