[hang-muh n for 1; hang-man for 2]

noun, plural hang·men. 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.


Nearby words

  1. hanging stile,
  2. hanging valley,
  3. hanging wall,
  4. hangingfly,
  5. hangingly,
  6. hangman's fracture,
  7. hangman's knot,
  8. hangnail,
  9. hangout,
  10. hangover

Origin of hangman

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at hang, man1

Related formsun·der·hang·man, noun, plural un·der·hang·men.

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

Examples from the Web for hangman

British Dictionary definitions for hangman


noun plural -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

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