henchman

noun
hench·​man | \ ˈhench-mən How to pronounce henchman (audio) \
plural henchmen

Definition of henchman

1a : 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

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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 The first was a quick line from Bek,Anton Mogart's henchman, about a previous trip to Madripoor with Marc Spector's adventurous wife, Layla. Evan Romano, Men's Health, 18 Apr. 2022 The mufti’s son, Ramzan Kadyrov, became Mr. Putin’s chief henchman and has supplied Chechen fighters to support Russian forces in the wars in Syria and now Ukraine. New York Times, 29 Mar. 2022 Not the socioeconomic protests of people not being able to put food on their plates or the security services not being paid to do their henchman activity and suppress peaceful protests. Kk Ottesen, Washington Post, 23 Mar. 2022 Cage, 58, is hard at work playing iconic vampire Dracula in Universal's Renfield opposite The Great's Nicholas Hoult, who stars as the titular Renfield, a henchman of the villainous monster in Bram Stoker's original 1897 novel, Dracula. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, 23 Mar. 2022 Dracula’s henchman Renfield, played by Nicholas Hoult, who is an inmate at the lunatic asylum. Alejandra Gularte, Vulture, 2 Dec. 2021 As clues pile up, more and more of Gotham's power players get drawn into that web, with the Penguin (an unrecognizable Colin Farrell), the top henchman to mob boss Falcone (John Turturro), adding to the Rogues Gallery of villains. Brian Lowry, CNN, 4 Mar. 2022 After a brief, chuckle-worthy exchange between Carrey and his Sonic 1 right-hand henchman, Sonic meets longtime series character Tails for this film universe's first time (with their introduction left unexplained in this trailer). Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 10 Dec. 2021 The Oscar-winning star is set to portray the iconic vampire in Universal's Renfield opposite The Great's Nicholas Hoult, who will play the titular Renfield, a henchman of the villainous monster in Bram Stoker's original 1897 novel, Dracula. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, 31 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'henchman.' 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 henchman

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for henchman

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

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

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Last Updated

22 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Henchman.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/henchman. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for henchman

henchman

noun
hench·​man | \ ˈhench-mən How to pronounce henchman (audio) \
plural henchmen\ -​mən \

Kids Definition of henchman

: a trusted follower or supporter and especially someone who performs unpleasant or illegal tasks

More from Merriam-Webster on henchman

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for henchman

Nglish: Translation of henchman for Spanish Speakers

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