MEANING: noun: Malicious criticism meant to harm someone’s reputation.

ETYMOLOGY: From hatchet (a small, short-handled axe), from Old French (hachete), diminutive of hache (axe) + job, of unknown origin. Earliest documented use: 1925.

NOTES: In the beginning a hatchet job was a murder carried out by a hired Chinese assassin in the US, known as a hatchet man. Over time, the word began to be used metaphorically for verbal criticism meant to destroy someone’s reputation. Another hatchet idiom is to "bury the hatchet," meaning to end hostilities and reconcile.

HITCHET JOB - attach the horses to the wagon

HATCHET JOY - easy work for a lumberjack

HATCHET JIB - a small sail in the prow of the boat that lets it slice through the wind