Definitions

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

  • noun A man employed to execute condemned prisoners by hanging.
  • noun 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 The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun countable An executioner responsible for hanging criminals.
  • noun uncountable, games 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an executioner who hangs the condemned person

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.]

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Word guessing game

    January 28, 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

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

    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

  • 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