henchman

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

Definition of henchman

1 obsolete : a squire or page to a person of high rank
2a : a trusted follower : a right-hand man
b : a political follower whose support is chiefly for personal advantage
c : a member of a gang

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Did You Know?

The earliest known examples of henchman in written English 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 at the beginning of the 15th century and is a combination of Old English hengest ("a male horse") and man. In the late 1700s, henchman began to be used for the personal attendant of a Scottish Highland chief. This sense, made familiar to many English readers by Sir Walter Scott, led to the word's use in the broader sense of "right-hand man," which in turn evolved into the other meanings.

Examples of henchman in a Sentence

a gangster surrounded by his henchmen

Recent Examples on the Web

Executive director Caroline Ciccone was a longtime DNC and Obama campaign surrogate, and her advisory board is stocked with former Obama staffers (Brad Woodhouse) and allies of Clinton henchman David Brock (Shripal Sha). Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "The Trump ‘Ethics’ Resistance," 27 Dec. 2018 The dust has settled after last July’s elections (which controversially installed former Mugabe henchman Emmerson Mnangagwa, a.k.a. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "The Best Places to Travel in 2019," 7 Dec. 2018 After calmly persuading his henchman to holster his weapon, El Chapo pulled Mr. Martínez aside. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Help! My Boss Is El Chapo," 12 Jan. 2019 Simba does so, and Scar becomes king, with three obnoxious hyenas as his henchmen. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Surprise! Disney drops first trailer for “live-action” film The Lion King," 23 Nov. 2018 Murdock and his allies dispatched countless crooked cops and Fisk henchmen in that installment. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Daredevil season 3 is a return to what made the show so good in season 1," 15 Oct. 2018 When Eddie is being chased by Drake’s henchman, Venom takes over, causing cars to crash with his sinewy, symbiotic tentacles, and even serving as a bulletproof shield when necessary. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Venom is a bizarre and baffling mess," 3 Oct. 2018 In reality, one of Hiram's henchmen did the killing, but Archie heard the gunshot, and rumors had already been circulating amongst the mob that Archie earned his bones by killing a man. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Riverdale Season 2 Episode 22: Did Jughead Die in the Season Finale?," 17 May 2018 If Vladimir Putin’s henchmen or Saudi princes had put a bounty on Mr. John’s head for revealing secrets about atrocities and reporting the news, Western media would be enthralled. WSJ, "Threatened Nigerian Priest Would Get More Notice as a Journalist," 1 Nov. 2018

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 1

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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Statistics for henchman

Last Updated

9 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for henchman

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

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More Definitions for henchman

henchman

noun

English Language Learners Definition of henchman

disapproving : a trusted follower or supporter who performs unpleasant, wrong, or illegal tasks for a powerful person (such as a politician or criminal)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on henchman

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with henchman

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for henchman

Spanish Central: Translation of henchman

Nglish: Translation of henchman for Spanish Speakers

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