hangman

noun

hang·​man ˈhaŋ-mən How to pronounce hangman (audio)
1
: one who hangs a condemned person
also : a public executioner
2
: a game in which the object is for one player to guess the letters of an unknown word before the player who knows the word creates a stick figure of a hanged man by drawing one line for each incorrect guess

Examples of hangman in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But, unfortunately for those involved, there really was a murder during the cold 1899 winter at Lituya Bay and, ultimately, a hangman’s rope for the murderer. David Reamer | Alaska History, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Aug. 2023 The scene is England’s North in the mid-1960s and the action — inspired by the abolishment of hanging for capital crimes — takes place principally in the Lancashire pub of Alice (Tracie Bennett) and Harry (David Threlfall), the latter compelled to retire from his job as the last English hangman. Washington Post, 22 Apr. 2022 Wheel of Fortune, a variation of hangman where contestants try to guess a term or phrase after spinning a wheel that determines their prize money, was created by Griffin in 1975. Lucas Shaw, Fortune, 12 June 2023 As Pierrepont — the gold-medalist hangman to Harry's silver — John Hodgkinson (The Ferryman) makes up for a late arrival with the pure command of his presence, his oak-tree stature and lordly arrogance a welcome jolt to the symphony of slapstick revelations in the last act. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, 22 Apr. 2022 In America, the hangman's noose has come to symbolize a deplorable act of brutality, along with unbound fear and hatred towards African Americans. Kate Gibson, CBS News, 21 May 2021 Göring cheated the hangman when a sympathetic American officer slipped him a cyanide capsule the night before. Thomas Doherty, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Feb. 2023 The hangman’s noose has come to symbolize brutality in the US and its history of lynchings and hatred toward Black people. Isa Kaufman Geballe, CNN, 15 Dec. 2022 In a 19-second video that was apparently posted on social media, three students are shown playing hangman, a game that requires guessing letters to complete a word, NBC5 reported. Dallas News, 9 May 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hangman.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hangman was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near hangman

Cite this Entry

“Hangman.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hangman. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

hangman

noun
hang·​man ˈhaŋ-mən How to pronounce hangman (audio)
1
: a person who hangs condemned criminals
2
: a game in which the object is for one player to guess the letters of an unknown word before the player who knows the word creates a stick figure of a hanged man by drawing one line for each incorrect guess

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