hatchet man


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Wikipedia.

hatchet man

A person hired by a company to make sweeping changes to save money, usually by reducing staff. We knew our days were numbered when our company brought in a hatchet man to make cuts to the staff.
See also: hatchet, man

hatchet man

a man who does the cruel or difficult things for someone else; someone who does someone else's dirty work. He served as the president's hatchet man and ended up doing all the dirty work.
See also: hatchet, man

hatchet man

1. A person assigned or hired to carry out a disagreeable task or unscrupulous order. For example, When it came to firing an employee, Arthur was his boss's hatchet man. This expression originally referred to a hired assassin but in the mid-1900s was transferred to less nefarious enterprises.
2. A person who attacks the reputation of others, especially a journalist hired to do so, as in You can count on Mary's column to destroy the mayor-she's the perfect hatchet man. This usage gave rise to hatchet job, meaning "harsh destructive criticism." [Mid-1900s]
See also: hatchet, man

a hatchet man

INFORMAL
A hatchet man is someone who is employed to do unpleasant tasks, especially to get rid of jobs in a company. Note: A hatchet is a small axe. Hall, they reckoned, was a hatchet man, out to shred the workforce and totally crush the union. Note: A woman who does a similar job can be called a hatchet woman. She had a reputation for being a ruthless hatchet woman. Note: This expression is usually used to show disapproval. Note: This expression may relate to violent gang warfare in the United States during the early part of the 20th century. Gangs often hired an assassin or `hatchet man' to hack an important member of a rival gang to death with a hatchet. This work was known as a `hatchet job'.
See also: hatchet, man
References in periodicals archive ?
He's built a reputation, people seem to think he's perfect to go in and be chief executive or hatchet man and he does it for them.
HOW nice to know that as I enter my sixth month of unemployment, hatchet man George Osborne has been enjoying a skiing holiday in Switzerland.
Paying millions to bring Ian McGregor the Hatchet Man from America to close down certain industries, the Falklands War, stopping free milk for school children, I could go on.
Out of the winning Tom Fool mare Bebopper, Stop The Music was a halfbrother to dual Grade 1 winner Hatchet Man.
The incident, captured on national television, happened as Mr MacGregor, an American import dubbed Margaret Thatcher's hatchet man, visited the colliery to meet officials after announcing plans for 20 pit closures and 20,000 job losses.
Exit of former Telefonica prexy Juan Villalonga's hatchet man is seen in Spain as a major victory for Nieto, who cannily stonewalled attempts by Garcia Duran to sign up TV personality Pepe Navarro to host a latenight chatshow designed to lambaste Villalonga's political enemies.
He earned his hatchet man reputation as it was believed he was planning to axe the Longbridge plant and move Rover's production overseas.
Hatchet man Derek Pavis must be sharpening the Meadow Lane axe after Sam Allardyce's dreadful run continued to leave County staring relegation in the face.
The star, who strips down to just some palm leaves on Saturday's show, says he could never be as cruel as hatchet man Simon Cowell.
The Gunners' legendary hatchet man, who made 501 appearances, was a key figure in Bertie Mee's great side of the 1960s and 70s.
I hope the groundsmen are going to work overtime to sort it out'After team-mate Scott Morrison's hatchet man claim, Aberdeen defender Kevin McNaughton wants groundstaff to just patch it
IRISH international Lee Carsley has never boasted a reputation as a midfield hatchet man -until now.
I will do what is necessary, but I don't believe in jumping in and I am certainly not a hatchet man.
She gets more than she bargained for when the mobster unleashes his chief hatchet man (Alec Baldwin) to frighten her off.