1. A corrupt politician.
2. A member of any of various Chinese American secret societies active primarily from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s and often involved in criminal activities such as prostitution, blackmail, and hired killings.
[After the Highbinders, a group of ruffians in New York City c. 1806.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.