from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To have a dispute, resentment, or grudge, sometimes with a disposition to act on that resentment covertly; to have a bias; to take issue with something.
Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable presents a definition at variance with the current understanding of the phrase ("Some selfish motive in the background; some personal interest to answer"). It asserts that the phrase originates with Benjamin Franklin: "Franklin tells of a man who wanted to grind his axe, but had no time to turn the grindstone. Going to the yard where he saw young Franklin, he asked the boy to show him how the machine worked, kept praising him till his axe was ground, and then laughed at him for his pains." (Wiktionary)