[boo sh-hwak-er, -wak-er]


a person or thing that bushwhacks.
(in the American Civil War) a guerrilla, especially a Confederate.
any guerrilla or outlaw.
Australian Slang. an unsophisticated person; hick.

Nearby words

  1. bushtit,
  2. bushveld,
  3. bushwa,
  4. bushwalking,
  5. bushwhack,
  6. bushy,
  7. bushy-tailed,
  8. busily,
  9. business,
  10. business administration

Origin of bushwhacker

An Americanism dating back to 1800–10; bush1 + whacker

Related formsbush·whack·ing, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for bushwhacker



US, Canadian and Australian a person who travels around or lives in thinly populated woodlands
Australian informal an unsophisticated person; boor
a Confederate guerrilla during the American Civil War
US any guerrilla
NZ a person who works in the bush, esp at timber felling
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 bushwhacker



also bush-whacker, 1809, American English, literally "one who beats the bushes" (to make his way through), perhaps modeled on Dutch bosch-wachter "forest keeper;" see bush (n.) + whack (v.). In American Civil War, "irregular who took to the woods" (1862), variously regarded as patriot guerillas or as freebooters. Hence bushwhack (v.), 1837; bushwhacking (1826).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper