hatchet man

noun

Definition of hatchet man

1 : one hired for murder, coercion, or attack
2a : a writer specializing in invective
b : a person hired to perform underhanded or unscrupulous tasks (as to ruin someone's reputation)

Examples of hatchet man in a Sentence

She doesn't criticize her opponent's character directly. She has her hatchet men in the media do it for her. He was fired by his boss's hatchet man.
Recent Examples on the Web Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s legal hatchet man, is openly trying to dig up dirt on one of Joe Biden’s sons in Ukraine to damage the Democratic frontrunner’s presidential bid. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Donald Trump’s Best Ally Against Impeachment," 23 Sep. 2019 To secure the 1800 presidential election, Thomas Jefferson infamously hired a hatchet man named James Callender to spread false rumors about John Adams wanting a war with France. A. G. Hamilton, National Review, "No, Facebook Shouldn’t Be the Arbiter of Political Speech," 25 Oct. 2019 To be regarded in the same breath as Trump’s hatchet man may anger Barr. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, "Can We Stop Pretending Prosecutors Are Impartial Now?," 2 Oct. 2019 Avigdor Liberman was a penniless former bar bouncer from Moldova, happy to be the hatchet man. New York Times, "Israel Election Could Turn on Ugly Breakup of an Odd Couple," 16 Sep. 2019 Whitaker could act as a total hatchet man and kill the investigation entirely. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "What does Jeff Sessions’s ouster mean for Robert Mueller? Here are 3 scenarios.," 7 Nov. 2018 Even so, in his four years as the nation’s top tax official, Mr. Moyane earned a national reputation as Mr. Zuma’s hatchet man, still guided by his loyalties to A.N.C. leaders who believe in the supremacy of the party over the country. New York Times, "Corruption Gutted South Africa’s Tax Agency. Now the Nation Is Paying the Price.," 10 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hatchet man.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of hatchet man

1876, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hatchet man

Time Traveler for hatchet man

Time Traveler

The first known use of hatchet man was in 1876

See more words from the same year

Statistics for hatchet man

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Hatchet man.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hatchet%20man. Accessed 29 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hatchet man

hatchet man

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hatchet man

: a person whose job is to do harsh and unpleasant things that other people do not want to do

More from Merriam-Webster on hatchet man

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hatchet man

Comments on hatchet man

What made you want to look up hatchet man? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to assert without proof or before proving

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

January 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • image1642096650
  • Which is a synonym of bonhomie?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!