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hatchet man

or hatchetman

a professional murderer.
a writer or speaker who specializes in defamatory attacks, as on political candidates or public officials.
a person whose job it is to execute unpleasant tasks for a superior, as dismissing employees.
Also called axman.
Origin of hatchet man
An Americanism dating back to 1745-55 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for hatchet man

hatchet man

noun (informal)
a person carrying out unpleasant assignments for an employer or superior
(US & Canadian) a hired murderer
a severe or malicious critic
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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Slang definitions & phrases for hatchet man

hatchet man

noun phrase

  1. (also hatchet) A professional killer; hit man (1880+)
  2. A person whose task and predilection is to destroy an opponent, often by illegitimate means (1944+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with hatchet man

hatchet man

A person assigned or hired to carry out a disagreeable task or unscrupulous order. For example, When it came to firing an employee, Arthur was his boss's hatchet man. This expression originally referred to a hired assassin but in the mid-1900s was transferred to less nefarious enterprises.
A person who attacks the reputation of others, especially a journalist hired to do so, as in You can count on Mary's column to destroy the mayor—she's the perfect hatchet man. This usage gave rise tohatchet job, meaning “harsh destructive criticism.” [ Mid-1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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