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To have a grievance with someone, especially where one feels the need to seek damaging retribution.

The phrase probably originates from the act of sharpening an axe with a grinding wheel, with the intent (in this definition) to get revenge on someone by maiming or killing them. ;)
"Five years ago that guy stole my idea for an invention and made tons of money off it! I've had an axe to grind with him ever since. My latest invention will put him out of business for sure, you'll see! Muwahahahaha!!"
by Humpty March 05, 2007
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2
To have an ulterior motive, especially hidden behind a friendly demeanor. From a story attributed to Ben Franklin and later Charles Miner, in which a friendly stranger asks a youth for the use of a grindstone to sharpen his axe, but tricks the youth into doing all of the work.
"When I see a merchant over-polite to his customers ... thinks I, that man has an axe to grind."
by Elemenopy Queuarestes June 10, 2018
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3
To have a grievance with someone, especially where one feels the need to seek damaging retribution.

The phrase probably originates from the act of sharpening an axe with a grinding wheel, with the intent (in this definition) to get revenge on someone by maiming or killing them. ;)
"Five years ago that guy stole my idea for an invention and made tons of money off it! I've had an axe to grind with him ever since. My latest invention will put him out of business for sure, you'll see! Muwahahahaha!!"
by Humpty February 27, 2007
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