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hangman

[hang-muh n for 1; hang-man for 2]
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noun, plural hang·men. for 1.
  1. a person who hangs criminals who are condemned to death; public executioner.
  2. a word game in which one player selects a word that the other player must guess by supplying each of its letters: for each incorrect guess a part of a stick figure of a man who has been hanged is drawn.
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Origin of hangman

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at hang, man1
Related formsun·der·hang·man, noun, plural un·der·hang·men.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hangman

Historical Examples

  • Between friends, there is overmuch of the hangman in him, and too little of the prince.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • These vermin are more to be feared than hangman's cord or headsman's axe.'

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • I ought to be able to; I've lifted up a good many in my time,' said the hangman.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • We shall see how they welcome the hangman, now that it comes home to him.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • Some of them hurried up to where he lay;—the hangman with them.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens


British Dictionary definitions for hangman

hangman

noun plural -men
  1. an official who carries out a sentence of hanging on condemned criminals
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hangman

n.

public executioner, mid-14c. (mid-13c. as a surname), from hang (v.) + man (n.). As the name of a spelling game, by 1951. Hangestere "female executioner" is found mid-15c.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper