phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Hack writer

Posted by ESC on July 22, 2003

In Reply to: Hack writer posted by BB on July 22, 2003

: On the back of one of the books written by the late Canadian writer, Mordecai Richler, there is a sentence which goes: "an academic turned hack writer". What is a hack writer?

From Merriam-Webster online 3b:

Main Entry: 3hack
Function: noun
Etymology: short for hackney
Date: circa 1721
1 a : a horse let out for common hire : a horse used in all kinds of work b : a horse worn out in service : JADE c : a light easy saddle horse; especially : a three-gaited saddle horse d : a ride on a horse
2 a : HACKNEY b : TAXICAB : CABDRIVER
3 a : a person who works solely for mercenary reasons : HIRELING b : a writer who works on order; also : a writer who aims solely for commercial success

To call someone a "hack" writer means he or she just grinds out the work for money. Also, it implies that the writing is poor or just adequate.