Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

HENCHMAN

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

HENCHMAN

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:35 am

• henchman •

Pronunciation: hench-mên • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A loyal trusted assistant or helper. 2. A servile supporter in a criminal activity or undertaking who does the boss's bidding without question.

Notes: Although this word clearly contains historical evidence of a man, the -man in this word is pronounced [mên], indicating that it is a suffix not a regular word. The plural, however, is still henchmen, suggesting that it is not. What we have here is a word in the process of becoming a suffix but not quite there yet. If you like to raise eyebrows, you might try an adjective, henchmanly, as a henchmanly subservience. But don't look for it in the dictionaries.

In Play: The first meaning of today's word isn't used in the US today but may turn up elsewhere in the English-speaking world: "I have no henchmen I could trust to take my sister to the dance—and strangers are out of the question." Sounds odd, though, doesn't it? Much more often this word is used to refer to subordinate criminal accomplices: "Some thug and his henchman held me up for my watch saying, 'Rolex time!' to add insult to injury."

Word History: Today's word goes back to a word meaning "a groom, horse servant", beginning in Old English as hengest "horse, stallion" + man in the 14th century. Hengestmanni of 1360 were ordinary grooms but by the 16th century the royal henchmen were usually young men of rank. By the 18th century the word referred to any attendant but by the turn of the 19th century the Americans had reduced the meaning to that of a servile assistant in crime. Other words for "stable boy" came to more illustrious ends. Constable goes back to a Latin word meaning "officer of the stable" while our recent Good Word, marshal goes back to a term meaning "horse servant", based on the same root that now is mare. (Today we must thank Mark Bailey, a loyal and trusted Agoran who is a cornucopia of excellent words like today's, for suggesting this one.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3560
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Postby Perry » Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:06 am

Good one Mark. (Am I your henchman, or are you mine?)
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."
Anonymous
User avatar
Perry
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2306
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:50 am
Location: Asheville, NC

Postby gailr » Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:20 am

I think you're one of his henchpeeps.


This WOTD reminded me of Hengist and Horsa; Wikipedia(font of all facts) confirms the relation.

-gailr
User avatar
gailr
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1945
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 11:40 am

Postby Bailey » Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:07 pm

Hey Perry, Let's be co-henchy and get a beer?

mark co-hooting Bailey

Today is the first day of the rest of your life, Make the most of it...
kb








Bailey
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2114
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 7:51 pm

Postby Perry » Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:20 pm

gailr wrote:I think you're one of his henchpeeps.


This WOTD reminded me of Hengist and Horsa; Wikipedia(font of all facts) confirms the relation.

-gailr


I keep telling you, I am a Jew, not a Jute. 8)
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."
Anonymous
User avatar
Perry
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2306
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:50 am
Location: Asheville, NC

Postby gailr » Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:43 pm

Well, better a Jute than a Hempman.

-gailr
who is not so keen on beer, but will be a henchpeep too, if that tavern serves mead...
User avatar
gailr
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1945
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 11:40 am

Postby Bailey » Wed Feb 07, 2007 4:25 pm

gailr wrote:
-gailr
if that tavern serves mead...

do you drink mead there in Colorado?

Today is the first day of the rest of your life, Make the most of it...
kb








Bailey
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2114
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 7:51 pm

Postby gailr » Wed Feb 07, 2007 7:07 pm

User avatar
gailr
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1945
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 11:40 am

Postby Perry » Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:17 am

And we always thought that you had moved to Colorado for employment. Now we see how your time is employed. (I always wondered how one copes with the cold there.) :roll:
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."
Anonymous
User avatar
Perry
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2306
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:50 am
Location: Asheville, NC

Postby Stargzer » Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:38 am

gailr wrote:...-gailr
who is not so keen on beer, but will be a henchpeep too, if that tavern serves mead...


One of my favorite quotes from The Thirteenth Warrior:

Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan: [as Herger offers a mead horn] I can taste neither the fermentation of grape, nor of wheat.
[Herger laughs]
Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan: What? Why do you laugh?
Herger the Joyous: [laughing, and handing over the bottle] HONEY! It's made from honey!
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
User avatar
Stargzer
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2551
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:56 pm
Location: Crownsville, MD


Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 1 guest