Bury The Hatchet

Meaning of “Bury the Hatchet”

The phrase “bury the hatchet” is an English idiom. It means to settle disputes or choose to reconcile with the enemies. It is generally used when people want to forget the past and move forward more positively. The phrase is used both formally and informally. In a simple sense, ‘bury the hatchet” leans towards the essence of making peace.

Origin of “Bury the Hatchet”

The phrase “bury the hatchet” is stated to have originated from Jesuit Relations, a translation of the memorable work of Thwaites. It was published in 1644 where it has been used as “to hurl hatchet so far into the depths.” Since then, it has been used in almost the same sense but in different words.

The supposed language of Native Americans that we are accustomed to is mainly the invention of Hollywood scriptwriters – ‘white man speaks with forked tongue’, ‘kemosabe’ etc. The figurative expression ‘bury the hatchet’ is different. It did originate as an American Indian tradition in it. Hatchets were buried by the chiefs of tribes when they agreed to peace.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Bury the Hatchet by Deresa Claybrook

A long time ago and many years in the past,
two brothers were born into a strong family bond
but there was a love between the two that didn’t last.

The brothers fought over land and it tore them a part.
They ostracized the family members if they got in the way.
They were shown that this was how the family dealt with pain
and because of the bitterness in the heart.

The brothers taught their own to live out the family feud.
They thought they were doing their best.
No one realized the issues were going to leave generation of unrest.

The brothers started a pattern that would last thousands of years.
It was a horrible trait and a secret in the family tree.
It was a cycle of hate that has affected you and even me.

Generations have come and generation will go on.
We must come to understand that this trait is all wrong.
We must not keep it in place or pass it along.

I can only do my part and not let it scar my heart.
I put down my arms and stand ready to make a peace.
Thus I ask of you that our future brothers to do their parts?
We must learn to forgive and to love one another.
So Again I plea. Bury the hatchet and not in each other.

The story of two brothers given in this poem shows how hatred breeds when two people are on bad terms with each other. This story of two brothers starts then they stop loving with each other. To add fuel to the fire, the family began creating hatred among their children, which continued for years. However, finally, the poet makes peace with other siblings and starts life anew by burying the hatchet. The phrase used in the title and the last line clarifies the meaning through this allegorical story and urge to bring peace.

Example #2

The Romantic by Roy Aguayo

I’ll show you what’s inside.
But do not touch
For looks or lust
Will hook till you cry.
All I ask, like broken glass
Is keep me by your side.
Bury the hatchet
Settle the racket,
I’ll love you do or die.
Bury hatchet
Settle hatchet
You don’t have time smile.

The singer explains the condition of a lover who asks his beloved to keep all the differences aside and start their relationship anew. He suggests starting loving each other again. The phrase is used in the ending lines asking reconciliation.

Example #3

We Bury the Hatchet by Garth Brooks

get along
We’re always fighting about things
That should be dead and gone

We bury the hatchet
But leave the handle stickin’ out
We’re always

The first stanza demonstrates that the poet and his friend are constantly fighting with each other. However, in the second stanza, they vow to end it by burying the hatchet. The use of the first-person plural shows that they want to reconcile with each other. Although the phrase is used in the title, the second stanza shows resolution and reconciliation.

Example #4

Bury the Hatchet in Dead Mule Swamp by Joan H. Young

The book voices the story of a lady, Anastasia Raven, who finds a bloody hatchet when she opens a box sent to her friend. It is a warning to her friend, Cora,  asking her to mend her ways or be ready to be buried. However, later in the novel, a hacked dead body is discovered in the nearby river with no clues about the killer. When Ana joins the league of the conspirators, it dawns upon her that she can now bury the hatchet with them.

Examples in Sentences

Example #1: “Let us bury the hatchet and be friends again.”

Example #2: “Many tribes always fought against each other. I see that  all of them are ready to bury the hatchet like their forefathers.”

Example #3:  “Jane and George always fought over silly matters. After a lot of thoughts, ‘Why don’t we bury the hatchet and start over?” George asked his wife.

Example #4: “Two rival schools had tough competition at the final matches. This year, another school took the prize and the rivals had a chance to bury the hatchet.”

Example #5: “If you want to bury the hatchet and have peace with each other, first bury the  bitter words you have said to each other.”