2 [hak]
a person, as an artist or writer, who exploits, for money, his or her creative ability or training in the production of dull, unimaginative, and trite work; one who produces banal and mediocre work in the hope of gaining commercial success in the arts: As a painter, he was little more than a hack.
a professional who renounces or surrenders individual independence, integrity, belief, etc., in return for money or other reward in the performance of a task normally thought of as involving a strong personal commitment: a political hack.
a writer who works on the staff of a publisher at a dull or routine task; someone who works as a literary drudge: He was one among the many hacks on Grub Street. scribbler.
a horse kept for common hire or adapted for general work, especially ordinary riding.
a saddle horse used for transportation, rather than for show, hunting, or the like.
an old or worn-out horse; jade.
a coach or carriage kept for hire; hackney.
a taxi.
Also, hackie. a cabdriver.
Slang. a prison guard.
verb (used with object)
to make a hack of; let out for hire. lease, rent.
to make trite or stale by frequent use; hackney.
verb (used without object)
Informal. to drive a taxi.
to ride or drive on the road at an ordinary pace, as distinguished from cross-country riding or racing.
British. to rent a horse, especially by the hour.
hired as a hack; of a hired sort: a hack writer; hack work.
hackneyed; trite; banal: hack writing.

1680–90; short for hackney

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
hack1 (hæk)
vb (when intr, usually foll by at or away)
1.  to cut or chop (at) irregularly, roughly, or violently
2.  to cut and clear (a way, path, etc), as through undergrowth
3.  (in sport, esp rugby) to foul (an opposing player) by kicking or striking his shins
4.  basketball to commit the foul of striking (an opposing player) on the arm
5.  (intr) to cough in short dry spasmodic bursts
6.  (tr) to reduce or cut (a story, article, etc) in a damaging way
7.  to manipulate a computer program skilfully, esp, to gain unauthorized access to another computer system
8.  slang (tr) to tolerate; cope with: I joined the army but I couldn't hack it
9.  hack to bits to damage severely: his reputation was hacked to bits
10.  a cut, chop, notch, or gash, esp as made by a knife or axe
11.  any tool used for shallow digging, such as a mattock or pick
12.  a chopping blow
13.  a dry spasmodic cough
14.  a kick on the shins, as in rugby
15.  a wound from a sharp kick
[Old English haccian; related to Old Frisian hackia, Middle High German hacken]

hack2 (hæk)
1.  a horse kept for riding or (more rarely) for driving
2.  an old, ill-bred, or overworked horse
3.  a horse kept for hire
4.  (Brit) a country ride on horseback
5.  a drudge
6.  a person who produces mediocre literary or journalistic work
7.  (US) Also called: hackney a coach or carriage that is for hire
8.  informal (US) Also called: hackie
 a.  a cab driver
 b.  a taxi
9.  (Brit) to ride (a horse) cross-country for pleasure
10.  (tr) to let (a horse) out for hire
11.  informal (tr) to write (an article) as or in the manner of a hack
12.  informal (US) (intr) to drive a taxi
13.  (prenominal) banal, mediocre, or unoriginal: hack writing
[C17: short for hackney]

hack3 (hæk)
1.  a rack used for fodder for livestock
2.  a board on which meat is placed for a hawk
3.  a pile or row of unfired bricks stacked to dry
4.  to place (fodder) in a hack
5.  to place (bricks) in a hack
[C16: variant of hatch²]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

in O.E. tohaccian "hack to pieces," from W.Gmc. *khak- (cf. O.Fris. hackia, Du. hakken, O.H.G. hacchon), perhaps infl. by O.N. höggva "to hack, hew," from PIE *kau- "to hew, strike." Sense of "short, dry cough" is 1802. Noun meaning "an act of hacking" is from 1836; fig. sense of "a try, an attempt"
is first attested 1898. Slang sense of "cope with" (such as in can't hack it) is first recorded in Amer.Eng. 1955, with a sense of "get through by some effort," as a jungle.

c.1700, originally, "person hired to do routine work," short for hackney "an ordinary horse" (c.1300), probably from place name Hackney (Middlesex), from O.E. Hacan ieg "Haca's Isle" (or possibly "Hook Island"). Now well within London, it was once pastoral. Apparently nags were raised on the pastureland
there in early medieval times and taken to Smithfield horse market (cf. Fr. haquenée "ambling nag," an Eng. loan-word). Extended sense of "horse for hire" (late 14c.) led naturally to "broken-down nag," and also "prostitute" (1570s) and "drudge" (1540s). Special sense of "one who writes anything for hire" led to hackneyed "trite" (1749); hack writer is first recorded 1826, though hackney writer is at least 50 years earlier. Sense of "carriage for hire" (1704) led to modern slang for "taxicab."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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