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

  • n. A man employed to execute condemned prisoners by hanging.
  • n. A game in which one player chooses a word whose letters are guessed at by another player. For each wrong guess, a new part of the stick figure of a hanging man is drawn.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An executioner responsible for hanging criminals.
  • n. A guessing game where one has to guess the word an opponent is thinking of by guessing one letter at a time, and involving the gradual drawing of a stick figure hanging from the gallows.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who hangs another; esp., one who makes a business of hanging; a public executioner; -- sometimes used as a term of reproach, without reference to office.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who hangs another; a public executioner: sometimes used merely as a term of reproach.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an executioner who hangs the condemned person


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Then the Grand Wazir called the hangman and bade him strip Hasib and beat him a sore beating; and so they did till he saw death face to face, for excess of pain, and the Wazir said,

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • “Just the post of under-turnkey, for I understand there’s a vacancy,” said the prisoner; “I wadna think of asking the lockman’s place ower his head; it wadna suit me sae weel as ither folk, for I never could put a beast out o’ the way, much less deal wi’ a man.”

    The Heart of Mid-Lothian

  • It was a guillotine indeed, and the hangman was the first barber, who, attired in a white coat and smoking a cigarette, leaned non-chalantly against the first chair.

    Flappers and Philosophers

  • “John Stretch is what they used to call the hangman, before we got civilized and started lopping off heads instead.”

    Angry Lead Skies

  • Sir, I will serve him; for I do find that your hangman is a more penitent trade than your bawd, he doth often ask forgiveness.

    Act IV. Scene II. Measure for Measure

  • She must have been for a long time out of her wits; some said she had been born so, others maintained that the roof had fallen right upon her head and injured her brain; others again affirmed that the marriage of her only daughter with the hangman was the cause of her mental aberration.

    The Day of Wrath

  • Mr. Dennis the hangman is a portrait that Hogarth would have painted with the same wholesome severity of satire which is employed upon it in _Barnaby Rudge_.

    The Life of Charles Dickens, Vol. I-III, Complete

  • There is another, called the Speech and dying words of John Dalgleish, lockman alias hangman of Edinburgh, containing these lines: -- -- Death, I've a Favour for to beg, That ye wad only gie a Fleg, And spare my Life; As I did to ill-hanged Megg, The Webster's Wife.

    The Heart of Mid-Lothian

  • _ Sir, I will serve him; for I do find your hangman is a more penitent trade than your bawd; he doth 45 oftener ask forgiveness.

    Measure for Measure The Works of William Shakespeare [Cambridge Edition] [9 vols.]

  • Now the Hunchback in question was, they relate, jester to the Sultan of China who could not bear him out of his sight; so when the fellow got drunk and did not make his appearance that night or the next day till noon, the Sultan asked some of his courtiers about him and they answered, O our lord, the Governor hath come upon him dead and hath ordered his murderer to be hanged; but, as the hangman was about to hoist him up there came a second and a third and a fourth and each one said,

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night


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  • I deleted it because I realized "milk" and "mail" were more commonly used (certainly in those usages) as nouns, so they didn't add anything to the conversation. :)

    September 8, 2008

  • I wonder where uncomments go? The front page says:

    on hangman, chained_bear said:

    "milkman, mailman ..."

    but the comment is no longer here. So she must have deleted it. No ghost comments on Wordie?

    September 8, 2008

  • Maybe because hanger already had a different meaning, but slayer, killer, etc. did not.

    September 8, 2008

  • It strikes me this is morphologically unusual: man attached directly to the verb. I can't think of any other examples: *slayman, *killman, *stealman, *rideman, *driveman, *preachman, *prayman.

    September 8, 2008

  • Word guessing game

    January 28, 2008