noun, bully on retainer

A henchman performs physical tasks and errands of coercion for an employer. When the employer issues an imperative or threat, it is likely a henchman who will be actually making it a reality (if it comes to that). A henchman is like a thug, but generally paid or somehow compensated for services rendered. Henchmen are rarely found alone; they operate in groups of two or three, as a rule (It's easier to move a body, if you've got a friend to help out.). Henchmen also serve as bodyguards. The term henchman has a negative connotation.

It is every henchman's dream, to one day warrant henchmen of his or her own.

"Call off your dogs! Call them off, please!" shrieked Pseudo_Intellectual.
moJoe snapped his finger. wintersweet and thefez, ever the obedient henchmen, ceased their kicking and returned to their positions by the only exit from the dingy flophouse room.

I suppose the terms henchman/henchmen are a bit dated. We should all begin using the more inclusive henchpersons, and later when even those becomes offensive, persons of hench.

Hench"man (?), n.; pl. -men (#). [OE. hencheman, henxman; prob. fr. OE. & AS. hengest horse + E. man, and meaning, a groom. AS. hengest is akin to D. & G. hengst stallion, OHG. hengist horse, gelding.]

An attendant; a servant; a follower. Now chiefly used as a political cant term.


© Webster 1913.

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