Definition of hatchet man in English:

Share this entry

hatchet man

Pronunciation: /ˈhaCHət ˈˌman/


1A person employed to carry out controversial or disagreeable tasks, such as the dismissal of a number of people from employment.
Example sentences
  • A cafe owner vouches for them and they are freed, but it isn't long before they come face to face with the bloodthirsty robber and his hatchet man!
  • Government hatchet men raided Gilani's Delhi home and ‘stumbled’ on a computer file about Indian troop deployments in Kashmir.
  • Many of them have been behaving like servile hatchet men and not as members of elite services owing unshakeable allegiance to the Constitution, the laws of the land and the principles of democratic governance.
1.1A person who writes fierce attacks on others or their work.
Example sentences
  • It's not surprising that Krugman is reading a book written by an admitted hatchet man and liar.
  • His reputation as the party's hatchet man related especially to his attacks on Adlai Stevenson, the Democrats' presidential candidate in 1952 and 1956.
  • The hagiographers and the hatchet men have only begun to do their best - or their worst - on the already weathered marble bust of Rudolf Nureyev's reputation.


Late 19th century: figuratively, from an early use denoting a hired Chinese assassin.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hatch·et man

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.