Definition of John Henry from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


John Henry

; NAmE
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a US folk song about a strong African American who built railway tracks. It was originally sung by African Americans. John Henry was 'a steel-driving man' who could crush more rocks than a machine. Part of the song is:
John Henry said to his captain,‘A man ain't nothin' but a man,And before I'd let your steam drill beat me down,I'd die with the hammer in my hand, Lord, Lord!I'd die with the hammer in my hand.’