[boo sh-hwak-er, -wak-er]
See more synonyms for bushwhacker on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person or thing that bushwhacks.
  2. (in the American Civil War) a guerrilla, especially a Confederate.
  3. any guerrilla or outlaw.
  4. Australian Slang. an unsophisticated person; hick.

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. 2018

Related Words for bushwhacker

aggressor, mugger, enemy, invader, goon, foe, assaulter, antagonist, bushwhacker

British Dictionary definitions for bushwhacker


  1. US, Canadian and Australian a person who travels around or lives in thinly populated woodlands
  2. Australian informal an unsophisticated person; boor
  3. a Confederate guerrilla during the American Civil War
  4. US any guerrilla
  5. 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