Posted by ESC on May 10, 2003
In Reply to: The toil of ink-stained hacks posted by James Briggs on May 10, 2003
: : : Hi,
: : : Could anybody tell me what the phrase 'the toil of ink-stained hacks' means? The word 'hack' here refers to the person who writes only for money.
: : : Thanks a lot.
: : : Mei
: : Their fingers are ink-stained. Either from leaky fountain pens or from the printing press. Not sure which.
: 'Hack' in this sense is a bit more than writing for money. It comes from 'Hackney', a form of 14thC riding horse used to much drudgery. The name transferred to the carriage drawn by such horses - Hackney carriages - and thence, as 'hack', to people, especially writers, whose writing is a drudgery, merely producing copy for a newspaper.
And a hack writer would not be very good at it. He/she would churn out mediocre writing.