General English

  • noun a badly paid journalist
  • verb to cut something roughly


  • verb to ride a horse, especially to ride a horse to a show, as opposed to taking the horse in a box



  • To cut or strike at something irregularly or carelessly, or to deal heavy blows.
  • Slang for a person who lacks, or does not apply, knowledge or skill in performing his job.


  • To write or refine source code or computer programs. To hack usually refers to either doing so in an ingenious and elegant manner, or in a clumsy and inelegant fashion.
  • To break into a computer system by circumventing or otherwise defeating the protective measures of said system.

Human Resources

  • noun an ordinary worker

Information & Library Science

  • noun a writer who produces poor-quality material only for money
  • verb to gain access illegally to a computer system or program


  • adverb minutes before an aircraft fires its weapons system at a target
  • verb to chop or cut with a sharp tool or weapon


  • noun a journalist or writer, especially one who does routine work or work that is not very good
  • noun a political party member who works for the party uncritically in a routine job


  • noun a journalist, professional writer. The word, inspired by the image of a worn-out workhorse, has traditionally denoted a disreputable, unprincipled, mercenary reporter or writer. Since the late 1960s, if not earlier, journalists have appropriated it to refer to themselves proudly rather than self-deprecatingly. Hack is still used in publishing as a simple descriptive term for a journeyman writer prepared to tackle any subject, as distinct from a specialist.
  • noun an excessively ambitious student. In the slang of Oxford and Cambridge universities this is the undergraduate equivalent of the many schoolchildren’s synonyms for swot.
  • noun a cough, particularly a dry, rasping cough. The word imitates the sound in question.


  • verb to commit a foul by kicking the shins of an opposing player

Origin & History of “hack”

English has two distinct words hack. By far the older, ‘cut savagely or randomly’ (OE), goes back via Old English haccian to a prehistoric west Germanic *khak-, also reproduced in German hacken and Dutch hakken. It perhaps originated in imitation of the sound of chopping. Hack ‘worn-out horse’ (17th c.) is short for hackney (as in hackney carriage), a word in use since the 14th century in connection with hired horses. It is thought that this may be an adaptation of the name of Hackney, now an inner-London borough but once a village on the northeastern outskirts of the capital where horses were raised before being taken into the city for sale or hire. most rented horses being past their best from long and probably ill usage, hackney came to mean ‘broken-down horse’ and hence in general ‘drudge’. This quickly became respecified to ‘someone who writes for hire, and hence unimaginatively’, which influenced the development of hackneyed ‘trite’ (18th c.). The modern sense of hacker, ‘someone who gains unauthorized access to computer records’, comes from a slightly earlier ‘one who works like a hack – that is, very hard – at writing and experimenting with software’.