Axel vs. axle

An axel is a figure-skating jump named after the Norwegian skater Axel Paulsen (1855-1938). It does not need to be capitalized. An axle is a rounded shaft or rod that connects two wheels. Coincidentally, this word’s origins are also Norwegian; it comes from the Old Norse öxull.

Examples

My 10 year-old daughter, a competitive figure skater, recently learned to execute an axel. [Ricochet]

With less mass over the front axle, the new Falcon should also change direction more readily. [Stuff.co.nz]

Lambiel’s technical ability is suspect without a triple axel, but he is a brilliant artisan who can rake in the points in the component scores. [Loop Axels]

When you want an axle to turn big tires and do so with some brute strength, the common choice is some version of the venerable Dana 60. [4 Wheel Drive and Sports Utility Magazine]

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