The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
- One, especially a professional killer, who is hired to kill another person.
- One hired to fight for or protect another.
- One who is proficient at obtaining power for others.
- One with special knowledge or expertise, as in business, law, or government, who is hired to resolve particularly difficult or complex problems.
hired gun - Phrases/Idioms
A person, especially a professional killer, employed to kill someone, as in They thought the murder had been done by a hired gun. The noun gun has been slang for a professional criminal since the mid-1800s.
A person with special knowledge or expertise who is employed to resolve a complex problem. For example, The legal team was looking for a hired gun to handle the antitrust angle of the case. [Slang; 1960s]