I’ve started Gene Wolfe’s Peace (recommended by Christopher Culver in this thread), and on the very first page he used a phrase unfamiliar to me: “I took the cruiser ax and went out…” (It’s not at all unusual to have to look things up when reading Wolfe; he has an extensive vocabulary and is not reluctant to deploy it.) There is definitely such a thing (here‘s one for sale: “2 1/2 lb. Double bit axe head 28″ Hickory handle. Overall length approximately 28″. Weight 3.63 lbs.”), but it wasn’t in any of my dictionaries, and I wanted to know where the name came from. Google Books told me it was sometimes called a cruiser’s ax (“And don’t forget to bring a light ax—a cruiser’s ax. Where you’re going, you could freeze to death without an ax and matches”—John Dalmas, The Reality Matrix, 1986), but that didn’t help much, since no definition of “cruiser” seemed appropriate… until I heaved my ancient and well-used Webster’s Third New International up from its honored place on my dictionary shelf and found definition 4a, “one who estimates the volume and value of marketable timber on a tract of land and maps it out for logging.” I’d still be interested to know exactly why and how that particular job description got matched with that particular ax, but the general idea is clear, and I am satisfied.