Simple Definition of henchman
: a trusted follower or supporter who performs unpleasant, wrong, or illegal tasks for a powerful person (such as a politician or criminal)
Full Definition of henchman
1 obsolete : a squire or page to a person of high rank
2 a : a trusted follower : a right-hand man b : a political follower whose support is chiefly for personal advantage c : a member of a gang
Examples of henchman in a sentence
a gangster surrounded by his henchmen
Did You Know?
The earliest known examples of henchman in written English show it being used as a term for a squire or a page, but the word may have seen earlier use with the meaning "groom." It first appeared in Middle English at the beginning of the 15th century and is a combination of Old English hengest ("a male horse") and man. In the late 1700s, henchman began to be used for the personal attendant of a Scottish Highland chief. This sense, made familiar to many English readers by Sir Walter Scott, led to the word's use in the broader sense of "right-hand man," which in turn evolved into the other meanings.
Origin of henchman
Middle English henshman, hengestman groom, from hengest stallion (from Old English) + man; akin to Old High German hengist gelding
First Known Use: 15th century
Rhymes with henchman
HENCHMAN Defined for Kids
Definition of henchman for Students
plural henchmen \-mən\
: a trusted follower or supporter and especially someone who performs unpleasant or illegal tasks
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