One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An unscrupulous person, especially a corrupt politician.
- ‘But what is important is printing some news about these political highbinders and about the big-time thieves.’
- ‘When their rule became so corrupt that at last a grand jury indicted them and they were placed on trial, and Francis J. Heney was selected to assist in their prosecution, this gang of plutocrats, autocrats and highbinders hired an assassin to shoot Heney down in the courtroom’
- 1.1 An assassin, especially one belonging to a Chinese-American criminal organization.
- ‘We are not aware of the presence of highbinders among the Chinese population.’
- ‘On the night of February 13, 1922, Hum Mon Sen was shot in front of his herb shop in China Alley by a highbinder who witnesses said wore a beaver cowboy hat.’
- ‘The terms secret societies and tongs are often used synonymously, but highbinders (aka hatchet men) refers to certain members of the tongs.’
- ‘Lai Yuen, merchant opposite the Columbia and Western depot, was threatened by highbinders.’
- ‘Enterprising guides, Caucasian and Chinese, readily catered to the impulse of pleasured fear, oftentimes staging the arrest of a so-called highbinder conveniently in front of a group of sightseers or leading their charges through alleyways replete with employees trained to vanish mysteriously when tourists neared.’
Early 19th century: first recorded as Highbinders, the name of a New York gang.
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