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Nov 26, 2019
This week’s theme
Words related to weapons

This week’s words
shell-shocked
hatchet job
battle-axe
smoking gun
great guns

hatchet job
Photo: Max Pixel

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

hatchet job

PRONUNCIATION:
(HATCH-it job)

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.

USAGE:
“It’s a hatchet job, they’re out to blacken her name.”
Mike Scantlebury; Secret Garden Festival; Lulu; 2018.

See more usage examples of hatchet job in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together. -Eugene Ionesco, playwright (26 Nov 1909-1994)

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