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[hang-muh n for 1; hang-man for 2] /ˈhæŋ mən for 1; ˈhæŋˌmæn for 2/
noun, plural hangmen. for 1.
a person who hangs criminals who are condemned to death; public executioner.
a word game in which one player selects a word that the other player must guess by supplying each of its letters: for each incorrect guess a part of a stick figure of a hanged, man is drawn.
Origin of hangman
1350-1400; Middle English; see hang, man1
Related forms
underhangman, noun, plural underhangmen. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hangman
Historical Examples
  • You do not know me, do you, what of this scar your hangman burned upon me?

    The Hour of the Dragon Robert E. Howard
  • I ought to be able to; I've lifted up a good many in my time,' said the hangman.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • You, son of the Conds, shall live long enough to see your Royal race overthrown, and shall die by the hands of a hangman.

  • Some of them hurried up to where he lay;—the hangman with them.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • The hangman finished the work on those who had escaped the sword.

    Spenser R. W. Church
  • Chew you the cud of that until the hangman's coming in the morning.

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
  • The hangman would be busy for a month if all who merited his rope were dragged out of yonder dens.

    Sea-Dogs All! Tom Bevan
  • O, I'll let you go: but not until the hangman gets hold of you.

    The Midnight Queen May Agnes Fleming
  • They'll figger I'm the hangman come out to git 'em—fetchin' my halter along!

  • The hangman's costume he wore for that occasion had belonged to his father.

    Mayflower (Flor de mayo) Vicente Blasco Ibez
British Dictionary definitions for hangman


noun (pl) -men
an official who carries out a sentence of hanging on condemned criminals
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 hangman

public executioner, mid-14c. (mid-13c. as a surname), from hang (v.) + man (n.). As the name of a spelling game, by 1951. Hangestere "female executioner" is found mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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