One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A faithful follower or political supporter, especially one prepared to engage in crime or violence by way of service.‘the dictator's henchman’
follower, supporter, assistant, aide, helper, adjutant, right-hand manView synonyms
- ‘Supervillains often employ the services of various henchmen to do their dirty work for them.’
- ‘They had one foot in the past when lawlessness featured independent gunmen and their henchman preying on society at their own will without regard to other outlaws.’
- ‘A few well-placed henchmen and gunmen accompanied by a sniper can easily take out your entire family if you're not careful.’
- ‘A hit man who asks no questions and creates no trouble, Michael Sullivan is a loyal henchman to ageing Irish mobster John Rooney.’
- ‘He galloped his horse to the north, followed by his henchmen and Wong's group.’
- ‘Half an hour later and Natalie had been kidnapped by evil henchmen whilst Daniel engaged in fierce battle.’
- ‘Of course, this educational challenge is quite unlike the ones that our politicians and their bureaucratic henchmen now insist are central to the current agenda.’
- ‘The thugs and henchmen draw a variety of weapons that include everything from nasty-looking kitchen knives to a really neat-looking sub-atomic ionizer.’
- ‘David and his high-ranking henchmen had suites of rooms, while younger thieves like me usually shared rooms with others.’
- ‘The worst enemies of gold are obviously the world's top bankers (with a few exceptions) and their law-making political henchmen.’
- ‘On February 14, 1929, Al Capone dispatched his henchmen to dispose of his crime syndicate's rival, Moran and his North Side Gang.’
- ‘The narrator avoids the question and leaves as quickly as he can, but Ras' henchmen follow him.’
- ‘And the central bankers of the world and their political henchmen are surely taking advantage of that fact.’
- ‘How are we to break free from the dispiriting sequence of dictators and their henchmen?’
- ‘Mr Cook simply has to appear principled and measured, and allow his henchmen and other supporters to do the work for him with MPs.’
- ‘Ray's henchmen are stock Italian mobsters, and their presence occasionally makes the movie seem like an ethnic joke.’
- ‘On foot, we trade bullets with underworld henchmen and rival gangs.’
- ‘He turned slowly to see one of Fleischer's henchmen pointing the pistol at him.’
- ‘Many feel even relieved to a certain extent that they no longer have to run after political leaders and their henchmen for payment.’
- ‘It was also the scene of murders: mafia henchmen allegedly threw unfortunates who couldn't pay their debts from the seven-floor building.’
- 1.1historical A squire or page of honour to a person of rank.
- ‘The ownership of land has been the nub of popular discontent in Britain since the Normans, when much of England and Wales - and large slices of Scotland and Ireland - was handed out piecemeal to henchmen.’
- 1.2 (in Scotland) the principal attendant of a Highland chief.
Middle English, from Old English hengest ‘male horse’ + man, the original sense being probably ‘groom’. In the mid 19th century the sense ‘principal attendant of a Highland chief’ was popularized by Sir Walter Scott, whence the current (originally US) usage.
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