a faithful supporter of a powerful person, for example a political leader or criminal, who is prepared to use violence or become involved in illegal activities to help that person his ruthless henchmen He sent one of his henchmen with orders to seize the pictures. Then he became aware of Carter’s two henchmen on either side of him. Word Origin Middle English, from Old English hengest ‘male horse’ + man, the original sense being probably ‘groom’. In the mid 19th cent. the sense ‘principal attendant of a Highland chief’ was popularized by Sir Walter Scott, and from here comes the current (originally US) usage.