hatchet man

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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 ?
JAMIE CURETON fears Walsall's hatchet men will be out to get him in today's Division 2 play-off in Cardiff.
Wenger has also called for referees to protect Walcott, with the Gunners worried that he could become a target for hatchet men.
Wenger had used his programme notes to issue another rally call against the hatchet men before Arsenal collected their third red of the season against Brum.
Robin Van Persie warns hatchet men not to kick entertainers like Cesc Fabregas and Cristiano Ronaldo out of English football.
ROBIN VAN Persie fears the potential stars of tomorrow's Premier League blockbuster - Cesc Fabregas and Cristiano Ronaldo - might defect to Spain to escape English football's hatchet men.
MARK HUGHES last night lashed out at the critics who have branded Blackburn a bunch of hatchet men.
Rooney, 20, knows he can expect Big Phil Scolari's hatchet men to give his mended metatarsal a severe test but he is not worried.
But there would be plenty of hatchet men - he was the Employment Secretary who saw a million workers dumped on the dole.
JIMMY CALDERWOOD has hit Scott Morrison in the pocket for claiming his manager only wants hatchet men at Aberdeen.
Prandelli says the Ibrox side are a team of hatchet men and won't progress as far as Celts in Europe.
The England captain has become a prime target for the hatchet men who will try to light his short fuse after seeing him explode with four-letter fury in his final match of the season last weekend.
ARGENTINE ace Martin Prest is determined he won't let Scotland's hatchet men dull his subtle South American skills.
But Rebrov has blamed his disappointing start on English football being too physical and becomes the latest in a long line of foreigners to whinge about the Premiership's hatchet men.
The movie has all the props that Bond films relied on - E-type jags, red phone boxes and Oriental hatchet men with deadly shoes.
But Rebrov has blamed his disappointing start on English football being too physical - the latest in a long line of foreigners to whinge about the Premiership's hatchet men.