Meaning of hatchet work in English:

hatchet work

Pronunciation /ˈhatʃɪt wəːk/


  • 1Work done with a hatchet, especially the chopping of wood or carving of stone.

  • 2 figurative Originally US. Attack upon or removal of someone or something, as if with a hatchet; (usually) specifically strong written or verbal criticism of someone or something.


Late 17th century; earliest use found in William Dampier (1651–1715), buccaneer and explorer. From hatchet + work.