from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A horse used for riding or driving; a hackney.
  • noun A worn-out horse for hire; a jade.
  • noun One who undertakes unpleasant or distasteful tasks for money or reward; a hireling.
  • noun A writer hired to produce routine or commercial writing.
  • noun A carriage or hackney for hire.
  • noun A taxicab.
  • intransitive verb To let out (a horse) for hire.
  • intransitive verb To make banal or hackneyed with indiscriminate use.
  • intransitive verb To drive a taxicab for a living.
  • intransitive verb To work for hire as a writer.
  • intransitive verb To ride on horseback at an ordinary pace.
  • adjective By, characteristic of, or designating routine or commercial writing.
  • adjective Hackneyed; banal.
  • intransitive verb To cut or chop with repeated and irregular blows.
  • intransitive verb To break up the surface of (soil).
  • intransitive verb Informal To alter (a computer program).
  • intransitive verb To gain access to (a computer file or network) illegally or without authorization.
  • intransitive verb Slang To cut or mutilate as if by hacking.
  • intransitive verb Slang To cope with successfully; manage.
  • intransitive verb To chop or cut something by hacking.
  • intransitive verb To write or refine computer programs skillfully.
  • intransitive verb To use one's skill in computer programming to gain illegal or unauthorized access to a file or network.
  • intransitive verb To cough roughly or harshly.
  • noun A rough, irregular cut made by hacking.
  • noun A tool, such as a hoe, used for hacking.
  • noun A blow made by hacking.
  • noun A rough, dry cough.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A grated frame. , ,
  • noun In falconry, partial liberty. See the extract.
  • noun A haw; a hedge.
  • To place (bricks) in rows to dry before burning.
  • To make irregular cuts in or upon; mangle by repeated strokes of a cutting instrument; cut or notch at random.
  • To dress off the more prominent parts of (stone) with a hack-hammer.
  • To chap; frost-bite, as the hands.
  • To kick, as one player another in foot-ball; bruise by kicking.
  • To break up, as clods of earth after plowing.
  • To chop; cut: as, to keep hacking away at a log.
  • To hop on one leg.
  • To toil; work laboriously; strive to attain something.
  • To stammer; stutter. Also hacker.
  • To emit short sharp sounds in coughing; cough slightly and frequently; be affected by a short, broken, dry cough. Compare hawk.
  • To chatter with cold.
  • noun A cut; a notch.
  • noun A cut in a tree to indicate a particular spot, or a series of cuts made in a number of trees as a guide through woods; a blazed line.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Short for hackney.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English hakken, from Old English -haccian; see keg- in Indo-European roots. V., intr., sense 2, back-formation from hacker.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From hackysack

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Abbreviation of hackney ("an ordinary horse"), probably from place name Hackney

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English tohaccian ("hack to pieces")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Variations of hatch, heck.


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  • I'm not 100% well at present and I think it was because I was in a room full of cigarette smoke on saturday night. * hack hack* gonna have to stay away from smokers for awhile.

    phelicity Diary Entry phelicity 2000

  • "Like, what about if I only go to work but I promise not to stay late and - * hack hackCOUGH snort hack*"

    Damn Hell Ass Kings 2009

  • * hack, hack* meanwhile, back in hazard county ...

    vampishone Diary Entry vampishone 2002

  • Through misuse, the term hack has become synonymous with illegal activity, such as breaking into a computer system and stealing data, but its original meaning is benign.

    Zen Computer Philip Toshio Sudo 1999

  • It's heavily based on the Digital Multiplex theme, main hack is to shift the navbar to the right.

    March 16th, 2004 2004

  • Of course, the term "hack" has taken on a different and altogether more sinister meaning in the British press since the century-and-a-half-old

    NPR Topics: News 2011

  • I am not arguing the legality per se but the use of the term hack or hacker.

    Elections - fresh news by 2009

  • But the rest of the hack is a simple matter of connecting a stereo cable to the outputs on a wireless doorbell sounding unit and then to the camera itself, creating a shutter trigger you can fire off from nearly anywhere nearby with the doorbell button.

    Turn A Wireless Doorbell Into A Remote Camera Trigger | Lifehacker Australia 2009

  • The company displays a sign with the word "hack" in large letters at the entrance to its Palo Alto, Calif., offices.

    Facebook Hires Whiz 'GeoHot' Shayndi Raice 2011

  • Well, I wouldn't describe myself as a Gibson fan-boy, but I think calling him a hack is a little strong.

    REVIEW: Schismatrix Plus by Bruce Sterling 2007


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  • Cough. A tired old horse. Computer hacking. Chop carelessly.

    January 16, 2007

  • There's another noun definition for this word when it refers to the result of hacking (on a computer program). As in, "Bob came up with this clever hack to get our database working again."

    July 8, 2009

  • According to my young adult children in 2009, the terms "can" or "can't hack it" --meaning being able to do something or not--are becoming obsolete. They didn't understand me, and thought immediately of computers. In the 70's and 80's, those were very common slang phrases.

    November 11, 2009

  • "Falconry has been a hunting sport since 2000 BC originating in ancient China and Egypt and since then the technique of hacking has been used and evolved. The term “hacking,” however, was not coined until the Elizabethan era. During that period, falconers brought a “hack,” an old English word for a type of wagon, to a hilltop and placed young falcons upon it when they still did not know how to fly yet."

    - Wikipedia

    August 11, 2010

  • A taxi (Belfast)

    July 27, 2011

  • "in the 21st century, a funny thing happened. The notion of a hack as a solution to a problem, or an ingenious shortcut, or an imaginative creation, began spreading to practically any activity you can name. "

    A Nation of Hackers, June 9, 2015 by Allan Metcalf in Lingua Franca, The Chronicle of Higher Education (a number of usage examples there as well)

    June 16, 2015

  • "The technique we used to try and reestablish the falcons in the Smokies was to hack the birds in high protected cliff ledges."

    Kim DeLozier & Carolyn Jourdan, Bear in the Back Seat: Adventures of a Wildlife Ranger (2013)

    "The hacking process involved feeding young birds that couldn't yet fly in a controlled situation, inside a large wooden box with little human contact, until they matured enough to grow some flight feathers."


    "We started our program by taking captive-bred birds to a hack box located high atop a cliff on Greenbrier Pinnacle."


    October 30, 2015