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Tomahawk

TOMAHAWK

TOMAHAWK appears to derive from the Algonquian tamahawk, or cutting utensil. The earliest English reference to the word came from John Smith, who indicated that it could mean "axe" or "war club." Over time the term came to denote metal trade hatchets rather than other forms. Tomahawks were among the most popular items Europeans brought to the fur trade. Innumerable varieties developed, from simple hand-forged tomahawks to those elaborately inlaid with precious metals; some featured a spike or hammer head opposite the blade. Spontoon tomahawks had a spearlike blade, suitable for war, not woodcutting. One of the most popular types was the pipe tomahawk, featuring a pipe bowl opposite the blade and a handle drilled through to allow for smoking.

Metal trade tomahawks became much prized throughout North America, and were widespread in eastern North America by 1700. Their spread coincided with growth in the fur and hide trade. Tomahawks coexisted with older forms of clubs and hybrid weapons well into the nineteenth century. While very popular with both Indians and white settlers, tomahawks and other hand weapons were increasingly reduced to a ceremonial role in Native American life by the advent of repeating firearms in the mid-nineteenth century. Symbolically, tomahawks remain synonymous with North American Indian warriors and warfare.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hartzler, Daniel D., and James A. Knowles. Indian Tomahawks and Frontiersman Belt Axes. Baltimore: Windcrest, 1995.

Peterson, Harold L. American Indian Tomahawks. Rev. ed. New York: Heye Foundation, 1971.

Robert M.Owens

See alsoIndian Trade and Traders .

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"Tomahawk." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Tomahawk." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tomahawk

"Tomahawk." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tomahawk

tomahawk

tomahawk [from an Algonquian dialect of Virginia], hatchet generally used by Native North Americans as a hand weapon and as a missile. The earliest tomahawks were made of stone, with one edge or two edges sharpened (sometimes the stone was globe shaped). The stone was fastened to a wooden handle in various ways, such as by putting the stone into a hole through the wood, tying the stone to a handle with thongs, or splitting the handle and tying it about the stone with thongs. After the arrival of the European traders the stone implements were rapidly replaced by European-manufactured tomahawks of steel (trade tomahawks). Some tomahawks were also equipped with a pipe bowl and a hollow stem, which were used for smoking. The ceremonial tomahawk usually was richly decorated with feathers and paint. Some Native Americans had the custom of ceremonially burying a tomahawk after peace had been reached with an enemy. This custom is supposedly the origin of the colloquial phrase, "to bury the hatchet."

See H. L. Peterson, American Indian Tomahawks (1965).

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"tomahawk." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"tomahawk." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tomahawk

"tomahawk." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tomahawk

tomahawk

tom·a·hawk / ˈtäməˌhôk/ • n. a light ax used as a tool or weapon by American Indians. • v. [tr.] strike or cut with or as if with a tomahawk. ORIGIN: early 17th cent.: from a Virginia Algonquian language.

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"tomahawk." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"tomahawk." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tomahawk-0

"tomahawk." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tomahawk-0

tomahawk

tomahawk XVII. of Algonquian orig.

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"tomahawk." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"tomahawk." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tomahawk-1

"tomahawk." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tomahawk-1

tomahawk

tomahawkauk, baulk, Bork, caulk (US calk), chalk, cork, dork, Dundalk, Falk, fork, gawk, hawk, Hawke, nork, orc, outwalk, pork, squawk, stalk, stork, talk, torc, torque, walk, york •pitchfork • nighthawk • goshawk •mohawk • sparrowhawk • tomahawk •back talk • peptalk • beanstalk •sweet-talk • crosstalk • small talk •smooth-talk • catwalk • jaywalk •cakewalk • space walk •sheep walk, sleepwalk •skywalk • sidewalk • crosswalk •boardwalk • rope-walk

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"tomahawk." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"tomahawk." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tomahawk

"tomahawk." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tomahawk