hatchet job

A hatchet job is an unfair attack on someone, especially a written attack. A newspaper article disguised as a movie review might, on closer inspection, actually be a hatchet job on the film's director.

If you misrepresent or malign someone, particularly in a public way, that's a hatchet job. Writing a gossipy tell-all memoir about your family and close friends might feel like a hatchet job to them if you reveal their secrets and exaggerate their flaws. The phrase hatchet job comes from the earlier hatchet man, 1880s California slang for "hired Chinese assassin," from an earlier military term for the solider in front who cleared the way for troops.

Definitions of hatchet job
  1. noun
    a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone's words or actions
    synonyms: calumniation, calumny, defamation, obloquy, traducement
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    assassination, blackwash, character assassination
    an attack intended to ruin someone's reputation
    malignment, smear, vilification
    slanderous defamation
    a false and malicious publication printed for the purpose of defaming a living person
    words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another
    name calling, names
    verbal abuse; a crude substitute for argument
    epithet, name
    a defamatory or abusive word or phrase
    slanderous remarks or charges
    smear word
    an epithet that can be used to smear someone's reputation
    type of:
    depreciation, derogation, disparagement
    a communication that belittles somebody or something
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