hatchet man


: one hired for murder, coercion, or attack
: a writer specializing in invective
: 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 In the twenty-tens, the brothers took up solo careers; Malice converted to Christianity (becoming No Malice), as Pusha T became a hatchet man for Kanye West. The New Yorker, 11 Aug. 2023 The Mondale inner circle wanted Ferraro to play the traditional running-mate role of hatchet man. Maureen Dowd New York Times, Star Tribune, 10 Aug. 2020 In a role reversal from their eight years together in the White House, Barack Obama has become Joe Biden’s wingman and, in his understated way, his hatchet man. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, 1 Aug. 2020 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, 25 Oct. 2019 Avigdor Liberman was a penniless former bar bouncer from Moldova, happy to be the hatchet man. New York Times, 16 Sep. 2019 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, 10 June 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hatchet man.' 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

1876, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hatchet man was in 1876

Dictionary Entries Near hatchet man

Cite this Entry

“Hatchet man.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hatchet%20man. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

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