from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Archaic A battle-ax with two cutting edges.
  • n. Archaic A mattock with one blade like an ax and the other like an adz.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An axe with two cutting blades
  • n. A mattock
  • n. A double bladed tool used in gate type hurdle making for cutting out mortices, with a flat chisel and a mortice chisel or hook, similar to the much larger french carpenter's tool, the bisaigue (or besaigue)
  • n. A double-bladed halberd or battle-axe

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A double-bladed battle-ax, especially that carried by the Northern nations.
  • n. A broadsword: so called from a misunderstanding of the word. See the quotation.
  • n. A kind of double ax; a kind of mattock the blade of which has one end shaped like an ax and the other like an adz.
  • n. A mortising-tool.
  • n. A reaping-hook.
  • n. Same as roaring boy (see roaring).


Middle English, from Old English : twi-, two; see dwo- in Indo-European roots + bil, billhook.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English twibill, from Old English twibill, from twī- ("double") + bill ("edge, blade"). Note bill probably from German 'beil' or Dutch 'bijl' (axe) see also billhook (Wiktionary)


  • A round buckler he bore and a huge twibill, which no man of the kindred could well wield save himself; and it was done both blade and shaft with knots and runes in gold; and he loved that twibill well, and called it the Wolf's Sister.

    The House of the Wolfings

  • We have ‘twilight’, but ‘twibill’ = bipennis (Chapman) is extinct.

    English Past and Present


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