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Hessian

[hesh-uh n] /ˈhɛʃ ən/
adjective
1.
of or pertaining to the state of Hesse or its inhabitants.
noun
2.
a native or inhabitant of Hesse.
3.
a Hessian mercenary used by England during the American Revolution.
4.
a hireling or ruffian.
5.
(lowercase) burlap.
6.
Also called Hessian andiron. (in the U.S.) an andiron having as an upright the figure of a Hessian soldier of the Revolutionary War.
Origin
1670-1680
1670-80; Hesse, Germany + -ian
Related forms
half-Hessian, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for halfhessian

hessian

/ˈhɛsɪən/
noun
1.
a coarse jute fabric similar to sacking, used for bags, upholstery, etc
Word Origin
C18: from Hesse + -ian

Hessian

/ˈhɛsɪən/
noun
1.
a native or inhabitant of Hesse
2.
  1. a Hessian soldier in any of the mercenary units of the British Army in the War of American Independence or the Napoleonic Wars
  2. (US) any German mercenary in the British Army during the War of American Independence
3.
(mainly US) a mercenary or ruffian
adjective
4.
of or relating to Hesse or its inhabitants
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for halfhessian

Hessian

from former Landgraviate of Hessen-Kassel, western Germany; its soldiers being hired out by the ruler to fight for other countries, especially the British during the American Revolution, the name Hessians (unjustly) became synonymous with "mercenaries." Hessian fly (Cecidomyia destructor) was a destructive parasite the ravaged U.S. crops late 18c., so named 1787 in erroneous belief that it was carried into America by the Hessians.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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