an executioner who beheads those condemned to die
Origin of headsmanMiddle English heddysman from heddys, hefdes (gen. of hede, heved, head) + man
An executioner, especially one who executes by beheading.
- 1885 — Gilbert & Sullivan, The Mikado
- And made him Headsman, for we said,
- "Who's next to be decapited
- Cannot cut off another's head
- Until he's cut his own off[....]"
From head’s + man.