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The toil of ink-stained hacks

Posted by James Briggs on May 10, 2003

In Reply to: The toil of ink-stained hacks posted by ESC 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.