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[hed-huhn-ter] /ˈhɛdˌhʌn tər/
a person who engages in headhunting.
a personnel recruiter for a corporation or executive recruitment agency.
an executive recruitment agency.
Origin of headhunter
First recorded in 1850-55; head + hunter Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for head-hunter
Historical Examples
  • The antlers were in the velvet and not to the head-hunter's purpose.

    John Ermine of the Yellowstone Frederic Remington
  • In one hand he bore the long war spear of the head-hunter he had slain.

    The Mucker Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Knowing him as I did, I could do nothing but hope that the head-hunter would be swiftly captured and the case brought to a finish.

    The Homicidal Diary Earl Peirce
  • He's a head-hunter—buys heads—fresh 'uns by preference, an' smokes an' cures 'em hisself, and sells 'em to the museums in Europe.

    The Call Of The South Louis Becke
  • I'm afraid it will get on my nerves, to be continually looking behind a rock, or a tree, for a head-hunter.

  • And finally, crossing Makassar Straits, we come to Borneo, the habitat of the head-hunter and the orang-utan.

    Where the Strange Trails Go Down E. Alexander Powell
  • In the person of Mai, we have a typical example of a Solomon Island head-hunter.

    The Solomon Islands and Their Natives

    H. B. (Henry Brougham) Guppy
  • Peter Gross looked at him keenly, for Jahi was reputed to be the boldest raider and head-hunter in the hills.

    The Argus Pheasant John Charles Beecham
Word Origin and History for head-hunter

1853, from head (n.) + hunter. Employment sense attested from 1961.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for head-hunter



A person or agency that seeks out and recruits employees, esp business executives and highly paid professionals, as candidates for usually high-paying or prestigious jobs: Headhunters head for Washington as a capital place to find executives (mid-1960s+)

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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