It's been more than 2 weeks now since my last entry on the assassin level titles, and--despite the fact that at least one person has confirmed interest in this topic, thank you--there's a good reason for the delay: cutthroat and executioner. Everyone knows what they mean, there's nothing particularly interesting about the etymology of these terms and, most importantly, every time I look for an intriguing cultural reference, I fall asleep at my keyboard.
But rather than avoid them forever--especially since I've already written up level 9--I'll lump them both down in one dose and move on with life.
Cutthroat: a race of sharp throated people. The men of this tribe were known to hone their throats to such fineness that they used them to shave. Or whiddle implements from wood. Also the name of an arts journal.
Executioner: one who wears a black hood but no shirt.
Actually, this one is mildly interesting because it really just meant someone who carries out some action, much like how "executor" is used today to describe the guy who carries out your will after you go off to Valhalla. In time it came to be primarily associated with executing a sentence of death on whatever poor sap/evil cutthroat whose head was to be relegated to the wicker basket.
On a related note, my first AD&D character was an elf named Elfrandel the Executor. In my defense, I pronounced it "ex-uh-cuter" instead of the more traditional "egg-zek-you-ter."
I only just now found out that Executor is also the name of one of those big space ships that those dudes who got choked by Darth Vader drove around in. And George Lucas was probably not 11 when he named them.