henchman

noun

hench·​man ˈhench-mən How to pronounce henchman (audio)
plural henchmen
1
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
2
obsolete : a squire or page to a person of high rank

Did you know?

The earliest known examples of henchman 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 and is a combination of Old English hengest ("a male horse") and man. One of the duties of a groom, squire, or page to a person of high rank was tending horses, and such a person was relied upon, which influenced the broader senses of henchman including "right-hand man."

Examples of henchman in a Sentence

a gangster surrounded by his henchmen
Recent Examples on the Web Now Trump, his Marauding MAGAs and political henchmen may not be held responsible for crimes which were punishable before this decision. Sun Sentinel Editorial Board, Sun Sentinel, 9 July 2024 Actor Manny Jacinto successfully sells the transformation from hapless henchman to glowering evildoer. Eliana Dockterman, TIME, 3 July 2024 Money talks, especially when accompanied by henchmen like glory, history and fresh challenge. Dom Amore, Hartford Courant, 8 Apr. 2024 That glimmer of hope is quickly snuffed out by Roy and the arrival of Gator and a pair of Tillman henchmen. Keith Phipps, Vulture, 2 Jan. 2024 See all Example Sentences for henchman 

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English henshman, hengestman groom, from hengest stallion (from Old English) + man; akin to Old High German hengist gelding

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

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Cite this Entry

“Henchman.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/henchman. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

henchman

noun
hench·​man ˈhench-mən How to pronounce henchman (audio)
1
: a trusted follower
2
: a political follower whose support is chiefly for personal advantage
3
: a member of a gang

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