hired gun

noun Informal.

a person hired to kill someone, as a gunfighter or professional killer.
a person hired to bear arms and fight for another, as a bodyguard or mercenary.
a person, as a politician or lobbyist, skilled at attaining power for others.
a person hired to resolve difficult problems or disputes or to handle complex legal or business problems.

Origin of hired gun

First recorded in 1965–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Idioms and Phrases with hired gun

hired gun


A person, especially a professional killer, employed to kill someone, as in They thought the murder had been done by a hired gun. The noun gun has been slang for a professional criminal since the mid-1800s.


A person with special knowledge or expertise who is employed to resolve a complex problem. For example, The legal team was looking for a hired gun to handle the antitrust angle of the case. [Slang; 1960s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.