handlanger

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See also: Handlanger

English[edit]

Apprentices working in Leipzig, Germany, in 1963

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Dutch handlanger (assistant, helper), analyzable as hand (hand) + langen (to hand over or pass to) + -er (suffix indicating the subject performing an action) (in the sense of someone who puts things into another person's hands), from German Handlanger (handyman; henchman), from Hand (hand) + langen (to hand over, to give; to reach for something) + -er (suffix forming agent nouns from verbs).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

handlanger (plural handlangers)

  1. (South Africa) An unskilled assistant to an artisan.
    • 1976, Het Suid Western:
      [] building himself brick by brick, with his wife as his only handlanger.
  2. (South Africa, figuratively) An aide, an assistant.
    • 2006, Richard Calland, Anatomy of South Africa: Who Holds the Power?, Cape Town: Zebra Press, ISBN 978-1-86872-903-6, page 177:
      [E]very political leader has a handlanger. Like a toddler with a security blanket, the political handlanger is a necessary sop and sponge for all the tension that goes with the job. And there is nothing either disreputable or degrading about the role. Politics can be spiteful and demanding; the handlanger is the trusted confidant, the one person whom the leader can sound out, seek counsel from and trust.
    • 2016 March 17, Judith February, “Which colour pill will the ANC choose?”, in Daily Maverick[1], archived from the original on 11 April 2016:
      The time for talk truly is over now. The ANC will have to do the necessary, find its backbone and rein in [Jacob] Zuma, his cronies and their handlangers to avert an economic crisis happening on its watch.
  3. Alternative letter-case form of Handlanger.

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Dutch[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

handlanger m (plural handlangers, diminutive handlangertje n)

  1. accomplice
  2. assistant; helper