[hedz-muh n]
Also headman.

Origin of headsman

First recorded in 1595–1605; head + 's1 + man1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for headsman

Historical Examples of headsman

  • The headsman, on the other hand, had scarcely anything to do to earn his hundred guilders.

    The Black Tulip

    Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

  • These vermin are more to be feared than hangman's cord or headsman's axe.'

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Just before he was executed he asked the headsman what his name was.

    The Memoirs of the Louis XIV. and The Regency, Complete

    Elizabeth-Charlotte, Duchesse d'Orleans

  • But I swear that I shall not help you to escape the headsman.

  • And as I said this, I untied my cravat, and appeared to prepare for the headsman.

    A Day's Ride

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for headsman


noun plural -men
  1. (formerly) an executioner who beheaded condemned persons
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 headsman

"executioner," c.1600, from genitive of head (n.) + man (n.). Used earlier in sense "chief, leader" (c.1400).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper