• (pejorative) One who is professionally successful despite producing mediocre work. (Usually applied to persons in a creative field.)
  • (colloquial) A trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method to increase productivity, efficiency or ease.

    "Putting your phone in a sandwich bag when you go to the beach is such a great hack."

  • (obsolete) A bookmaker who hires himself out for any sort of literary work; an overworked man; a drudge.
  • A kick on the shins in football.
  • A rack used to dry something, such as bricks, fish, or cheese.
  • A gouge or notch made by such a blow.
  • (figuratively) A try, an attempt. [19th c.]
  • (pejorative) Someone who is available for hire; hireling, mercenary.
  • (computing, slang) An illegal attempt to gain access to a computer network.
  • (pejorative) An untalented writer.
  • (computing) An expedient, temporary solution, meant to be replaced with a more elegant solution at a later date.
  • (politics) A political agitator. (slightly derogatory)
  • (baseball) A swing of the bat at a pitched ball by the batter.

    "He took a few hacks, but the pitcher finally struck him out."

  • A food-rack for cattle.
  • A hacking blow. [19th c.]
  • A hacking; a catch in speaking; a short, broken cough.
  • A person, often a journalist, hired to do routine work. (newspaper hack) [from the 17th c.]
  • (obsolete) A mattock or a miner's pick.
  • A coach or carriage let for hire; particularly, a coach with two seats inside facing each other; a hackney coach.
  • (computing) A small code change meant to patch a problem as quickly as possible.
  • (pejorative) A talented writer-for-hire, paid to put others' thoughts into felicitous language.
  • (slang, military) Time check.
  • (obsolete) A procuress.
  • (falconry) A board which the falcon's food is placed on; used by extension for the state of partial freedom in which they are kept before being trained.
  • A tool for chopping. [14th c.]
  • A grating in a mill race.
  • A dry cough.
  • A small ball usually made of woven cotton or suede and filled with rice, sand or some other filler, for use in hackeysack.
  • (obsolete) An ordinary saddle horse, especially one which has been let out for hire and is old and tired. [from the 14th c.]
  • (curling) The foothold traditionally cut into the ice from which the person who throws the rock pushes off for delivery.
  • (slang) A taxicab (hackney cab) driver.
  • (computing) An interesting technical achievement, particularly in computer programming.


  • (ice hockey) To make a flailing attempt to hit the puck with a hockey stick.

    "There's a scramble in front of the net as the forwards are hacking at the bouncing puck."

  • To strike in a frantic movement.
  • To ride a horse at a regular pace; to ride on a road (as opposed to riding cross-country etc.).
  • (transitive) To chop or cut down in a rough manner. [circa 12th c.]

    "They hacked the brush down and made their way through the jungle."

  • (transitive, slang, computing) To hack into; to gain unauthorized access to (a computer system, e.g., a website, or network) by manipulating code; to crack.
  • To use frequently and indiscriminately, so as to render trite and commonplace.
  • (falconry) To keep (young hawks) in a state of partial freedom, before they are trained.
  • (computing) To make a quick code change to patch a computer program, often one that, while being effective, is inelegant or makes the program harder to maintain.

    "I hacked in a fix for this bug, but we'll still have to do a real fix later."

  • (ice hockey) To strike an opponent's leg with one's hockey stick.

    "He's going to the penalty box after hacking the defender in front of the goal."

  • (soccer) To kick (a player) on the shins.
  • (dated) To make common or cliched; to vulgarise.
  • To use as a hack; to let out for hire.
  • To lay (bricks) on a rack to dry.
  • To withstand or put up with a difficult situation. [ 20th c.]

    "Can you hack it out here with no electricity or running water?"

  • To play hackeysack.
  • (computing) To accomplish a difficult programming task.

    "He can hack like no one else and make the program work as expected."

  • (computing, slang, transitive) To work with on an intimately technical level.

    "I'm currently hacking distributed garbage collection."

  • (baseball) To swing at a pitched ball.

    "He went to the batter's box hacking."

  • (obsolete) To live the life of a drudge or hack.
  • (intransitive) To cough noisily. [19th c.]

    "This cold is awful. I can't stop hacking."

  • (transitive, slang, computing) By extension, to gain unauthorised access to a computer or online account belonging to (a person or organisation).

    "When I logged into the social network, I discovered I'd been hacked."

  • (transitive, colloquial, by extension) To apply a trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method to something to increase productivity, efficiency or ease.

    "I read up on dating tips so I can hack my sex life."

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