henchman

[hench-muhn]
noun, plural henchmen.
1.
an unscrupulous and ruthless subordinate, especially a criminal: The leader of the gang went everywhere accompanied by his henchmen.
2.
an unscrupulous supporter or adherent of a political figure or cause, especially one motivated by the hope of personal gain: Hitler and his henchmen.
3.
a trusted attendant, supporter, or follower.
4.
Obsolete. a squire or page.

Origin:
1325–75; Middle English henchman, henshman, henksman, hengestman, Old English hengest stallion (cognate with German Hengst) + man man1

henchmanship, noun


2. flunky, lackey, cohort.
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World English Dictionary
henchman (ˈhɛntʃmən)
 
n , pl -men
1.  a faithful attendant or supporter
2.  archaic a squire; page
 
[C14: hengestman, from Old English hengest stallion + man; related to Old Norse hestr horse, Old High German hengist gelding]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

henchman
1360, hengestman "high-ranking servant," originally "groom," from man + O.E. hengest "horse, stallion, gelding," from P.Gmc. *khangistas (cf. O.Fris. hengst, Du. hengest, Ger. Hengst "stallion"), probably lit. "best at springing," from PIE *kenku- (cf. Gk. kekiein "to gush forth;" Lith. sokti "to jump,
dance;" Breton kazek "a mare," lit. "that which belongs to a stallion"). Became obsolete, but retained in Scottish as "personal attendant of a Highland chief," in which sense Scott revived it in literary Eng. in 1810. Sense of "obedient or unscrupulous follower" is first recorded 1839, probably based on a misunderstanding of the word as used by Scott.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Calhoun hates himself for acting as henchman to the ship's captain, a dwarfish tyrant.
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