hired gun


Definition of hired gun

: an expert hired to do a specific and often ethically dubious job

Examples of hired gun in a Sentence

business executives and the hired guns they pay to polish their images

Recent Examples on the Web

They are hired guns in one of Manila’s hundreds of troll farms churning out fake content, false narratives and anything else the client wants. Washington Post, "Why crafty Internet trolls in the Philippines may be coming to a website near you," 26 July 2019 The retailer went on to reportedly hire gun control lobbyists in April. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Companies used to stay quiet about politics. In 2018, social causes became integral to their branding.," 17 Dec. 2018 Political opponents and hired guns sling mud and cast aspersions, sometimes concocting things from whole cloth. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Who wrote the op-ed? Will the government shut down? Denials pile up in Washington," 10 Sep. 2018 Nobody in this play is more lost than Ed Devery, a lawyer who’d once been a crusading idealist, before becoming Harry’s hired gun and a drunk. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Born Yesterday' heroine calls her own shots in American Players Theatre remake," 26 June 2018 The contrade pay their jockeys handsomely to ride for them, yet these jockeys are hired guns and fundamentally unfaithful. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "The Palio di Siena: A Survivor’s Tale," 16 Apr. 2018 About 10 pharma lobbyists flooded the room in Baton Rouge's art deco state Capitol, some of them hired guns — lobbyists who'd never represented drug companies before, remembers Jeff Drozda, an insurance lobbyist at the 2016 meeting. Washington Post, "As States Target High Drug Prices, Pharma Targets State Lawmakers," 6 Mar. 2018 These aren’t founders or major shareholders but hired guns, managers playing with house money. Philip Delves Broughton, WSJ, "A Better Way to Reward CEOs," 31 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hired gun.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of hired gun

1971, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hired gun

Dictionary Entries near hired gun



hired girl

hired gun

hired hand

hired man

hire in

Statistics for hired gun

Last Updated

1 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hired gun

The first known use of hired gun was in 1971

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hired gun

hired gun


English Language Learners Definition of hired gun

chiefly US
: a person who is paid to kill someone
: a person who is hired to do a specific job and especially one that some people consider to be morally wrong

More from Merriam-Webster on hired gun

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hired gun

Comments on hired gun

What made you want to look up hired gun? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!