from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A prison guard charged with checking on the prisoner by looking through the hatch.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Sometimes the hatchman (almost always men, until recently) would be easy to identify: no one had any doubts who Spiro Agnew was carrying water for when he attacked the press as "nattering nabobs of negativism," a phrase that we should always remember sprang from the pen of the illustrious William Safire -- whom the
I'm sure it was not from me; that is if you be mine, which is a rather problematical circumstance; for I take it you are as likely to be the descent of some rascally turnkey or hatchman, and be hanged to you, as mine. "