hes·​sian ˈhe-shən How to pronounce hessian (audio)
: a native of Hesse
: a German mercenary serving in the British forces during the American Revolution
broadly : a mercenary soldier
chiefly British : burlap

Examples of hessian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With a great backing band of long-haired hessians and a few swirls of sampled atmospherics, the singer, dressed in a black-and-chrome bondage skirt, got a perverse glee out of upending expectations. August Brown, Los Angeles Times, 16 Apr. 2023 Remember that iconic image of Washington crossing the Delaware to make a surprise attack on the Hessians? Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian, 4 May 2017 A gust of wind lifted a roadside hessian screen, revealing Hitler’s army, mustered for the invasion. The Hive, 24 Jan. 2017

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

1710, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of hessian was in 1710

Dictionary Entries Near hessian

Cite this Entry

“Hessian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hessian. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a German soldier serving in the British forces during the American Revolution

from Hesse, a region in Germany

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