Word and Phrase Origins
English Language

Where does "bury the hatchet" come from?


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Todd L Ross
2019-08-23 14:31:58
2019-08-23 14:31:58

It comes from a tradition followed by some Native American tribes. At the end of a war, the tribes' chiefs would literally bury a hatchet as a symbolic gesture of their new peace.

Not all tribes followed this tradition. However, it likely predated the European settlement of the Americas, and it was seen as a solemn and important ceremony. One 1664 account describes the Iriquois proposing peace as “proclaim[ing] that they wish to unite all the nations of the earth and to hurl the hatchet so far into the depths of the earth that it shall never again be seen in the future.”

In fact, some sources claim that the practice of burying a hatchet came from the Iroquois. Per oral histories, the leaders Deganawidah and Hiawatha convinced the five tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy (the Mohawk, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, and Seneca) to stop fighting, at which point they decided to bury their weapons under the roots of a white pine. The timing of this event is widely disputed, since the nature of oral traditions makes determining the exact date difficult, but it definitely happened prior to the mid-1600s.

According to etymology blog The Phrase Finder, one of the earliest uses of the exact phrase “bury the hatchet" comes from a 1747 book, The History of the Five Indian Nations of Canada. Here’s that passage:

The great Matter under Consideration with the Brethren is, how to strengthen themselves, and weaken their Enemy. My Opinion is, that the Brethren should fend Messengers to the Utawawas, Twibtwies, and the farther Indians, and to send back likewise some of the Prisoners of these Nations, if you have any left to bury the Hatchet, and to make a Covenant-chain, that they may put away all the French that are among them.

By the early 20th century, the practice was well known in the United States, and it was no longer exclusively associated with native tradition. In 1913, two former soldiers—one Confederate, one Union—commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg by purchasing a hatchet from a local hardware store and burying it at the site of the battle.


Related Questions

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The hatchet should burriedin the ground for safety and lets not fight anymore

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Scince a fray is a fight the opposite of fray is when you bury the hatchet.

My mother sang a song which went as follows: Let's bury the hatchet. Let's bury the hatchet. Let's bury the hatchet in the Kaiser's head. We'll crown him on the noodle, make him whistle Yankee Doodle, down with the.... That's all I can remember and I have been trying to find the song and can't. The song was used in a documentary called "World War 1 American Legacy".

"Let's put this business behind us" or "forget the whole thing."

It is a way to say they have reached agreement and are friends again. It usually means they have apologized.

The saying 'to bury the hatchet' means to forgive and forget, make peace, etc. It is something the Native Americans would literally do in times of harmony with other tribes and the new settlers. A similiar idioms would be to 'smoke the peace pipe', which also came from the Native Americans.

Just FYI, the reason I'm asking is REALLY because I have all of the lyrics except for ONE WORD!!! See the bolded ALL-CAPS word below:While Yankee Doodle sails away to fight the German foeThe pacifists are shouting "PEACE!" and say they shouldn't goThey claim the hatchet must be buried by the Allies nowPerhaps they're right, we must have peace,...and so I'll tell them howLet's bury the hatchet, let's bury the hatchet,Let's bury the hatchet in the Kaiser's headWe'll crown him on the noodle, make him whistle Yankee DoodleDown came the battle cry of WilsonWe'll chain his BROODLE down the floor and then we'll get his goatWe'll chop them into frankfurters and stuff them down his throatWe'll chase him out of RussiaThen we'll try another stuntWe'll punch him in the Belg-i-umAnd we'll smash his western FrontLet's bury the hatchet, Let's bury the hatchet,Let's bury the hatchet in the Kaiser's headWhen Berlin is in ashes, we'll burn up his big mustachesLet's bury the hatchet in the Kaiser's headDown came the battle cry of WilsonThe word BROODLE above is the only word I can figure it could be. I found out that a Broodle Griffon is a mixed breed coming from the combination of Brussels and Poodle. Any other guesses on what the word could be??-------ANSWER: You have the entire line wrong. It should read "We'll chain his brutal dogs of war" (this leads into a pun with the later line "we'll chop them into frankfurters," implying his dogs of war will become simple hot dogs).

The Solution is that he survives with his hatchet for 2 months till they come and save him.

You might be thinking of "bury the hatchet." It means to end a quarrel or conflict and become friendly.

A 'hatchet' is a disagreement. So, you bury it so that it doesn't emerge again. It does sometimes give the impression that the parties are not entirely happy but mutually forget this particular problem. Example: 'The sisters fell out over their mother's will but agreed to bury the hatchet after consulting legal advice'.It's an anlgo-american slag term for making peace. This stems from the fact that when American Indian tribes came to peace, they would literally "bury the hatchet" to signify the event.It means to drop all animosity, disagreement, even perhaps hate concerning another individual for some past aggravation and adopt a normal relationship.

If they do, it is time to bury the hatchet. Holding a grudge for 162 years is worse behavior then the Hatfields and the McCoys.

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