Bury the Hatchet

Meaning of Idiom ‘Bury the Hatchet’

To bury the hatchet means to make peace; to settle one’s difference; to stop arguing or fighting; to put an end to old resentments. 1Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Examples Of Use

“It’s time we bury the hatchet,” said Tom. “I don’t even remember what we were fighting about.”

“The tabloids say they’ve buried the hatchet and moved on, but close friends report the couple is still having frequent arguments.”

“You people need to bury the hatchet and get back to work,” said the manager. “We can work out these issues while still getting the job done.”

Bury the hatchet idiom meaning

Origin

Used since at least the 1700s.

It is claimed that this idiom derives from a Native American custom of burying a hatchet to symbolize peace, usually between warring tribes.

A letter from The Baxter manuscripts, 1727, illustrates, reporting that tribes in Maine promised “to bury ye hatchet and not to offer any hurt for ye futer for they ar in Good frindship with the English.”

It is possible, however, that the letter was simply using an existing phrase. Some sources claim that the idiom has nothing to do with Native Americans and instead derived from an earlier idiom ‘to hang up one’s hatchet,’ dating from the 1300s. Little explanation is offered, however, as to why bury should come to replace hang. 3Bengelsdorf, Peter. Idioms in the News – 1,000 Phrases, Real Examples. N.p.: Amz Digital Services, 2012.,4Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.
2, 4. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
3. Bengelsdorf, Peter. Idioms in the News – 1,000 Phrases, Real Examples. N.p.: Amz Digital Services, 2012.