Hatchet Man

What does the phrase Hatchet man mean?

Hatchet man!

Do you know what a hatchet is?

Of course I do. It's an axe. So is a Hatchet man someone who goes around killing people with an axe?

That was the original meaning, I believe. A Hatchet man was a hired assassin.

Good god! What does the word mean now?

Nowadays the term is usually used to refer to someone who does all the dirty work for his boss. One of the meanings of Hatchet man is someone who is hired by a company to bring about changes which the employees may not like.

Like getting rid of people? Firing them?

Yes, downsizing is one of the things that a Hatchet man does.

Do you mean to say that all big companies have a Hatchet man on their payroll?

That's right. Let me tell you, being a Hatchet man is not an easy job.

I am not really interested. I don't want to be a Hatchet man.

COURTESY : The Hindu (The National News-Paper) - India

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