hatchet man


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 The right wing's favorite hatchet man was now creating a new news network. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Liberal Media Scream: New high in CNN bias, blames GOP for ‘divided America’," 1 Feb. 2021 The Mondale inner circle wanted Ferraro to play the traditional running-mate role of hatchet man. Maureen Dowd New York Times, Star Tribune, "Recalling the first time a presidential candidate's running mate was a woman …," 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, "Obama emerges as Biden’s hatchet man," 1 Aug. 2020 In the Stone case, too, Shea served as Barr’s hatchet man. Jonathan Stevenson, The New York Review of Books, "With Flynn, Barr Burns Justice to Feed Trump’s ‘Obamagate’ Fantasy," 15 May 2020 Whitaker as the hatchet man who ends the probe The most alarming scenario is Trump has installed Whitaker specifically to do the president’s bidding and thwart the probe — completely shutting things down to protect the president. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "What does Jeff Sessions’s ouster mean for Robert Mueller? Here are 3 scenarios.," 7 Nov. 2018 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

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.

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First Known Use of hatchet man

1876, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for hatchet man

Time Traveler

The first known use of hatchet man was in 1876

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Statistics for hatchet man

Last Updated

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hatchet man.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hatchet%20man. Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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hatchet man


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

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