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[hang-muh n for 1; hang-man for 2] /ˈhæŋ mən for 1; ˈhæŋˌmæn for 2/
noun, plural hangmen. for 1.
a person who hangs criminals who are condemned to death; public executioner.
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.
Origin of hangman
Middle English word dating back to 1350-1400; See origin at hang, man1
Related forms
underhangman, noun, plural underhangmen. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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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
  • Tug as he would at the old man's wrists, the hangman could not force him to unclench his hands.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • Consider, pray, sir, that if you trouble me I have no need to do my own office of hangman.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
  • Chew you the cud of that until the hangman's coming in the morning.

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
  • To betray your father into the hands of his enemies; to deliver him up to the hangman.

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
  • They 've no more choice in the matter than the hangman has as to who be 'll hang.

British Dictionary definitions for hangman


noun (pl) -men
an official who carries out a sentence of hanging on condemned criminals
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
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Word Origin and History for hangman

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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