AskDefine | Define hoodlum

Dictionary Definition

hoodlum n : an aggressive and violent young criminal [syn: hood, goon, punk, thug, tough, toughie, strong-armer]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ˈhud.lə̆m/


According to Herbert Asbury in his book The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld (1933, A. A. Knopf, New York), the word originated in San Francisco during the 19th century from the call of a particular street gang, "huddle 'em". San Francisco newspapers thereafter took to calling gangs generally "hoodlums".
The word early evolved into the shortened form "hood", especially during the 1920's. Gangsters were often referred to as "hoods".


a gangster; a hired thug
a rough or violent youth
Translations to be checked

Extensive Definition

Hoodlum may refer to:

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Mafioso, Young Turk, apache, bad boy, bandit, battler, beast, beldam, belligerent, belted knight, berserk, berserker, bickerer, blade, bomber, booger, bravo, brawler, brigand, bruiser, brute, buffoon, bugger, bully, bullyboy, combatant, competitor, contender, contestant, crook, cutup, dacoit, demon, desperado, devil, disputant, dragon, duelist, elf, enfant terrible, enforcer, fencer, feuder, fiend, fighter, fighting cock, fire-eater, firebrand, foilsman, funmaker, fury, gamecock, gangster, gladiator, goon, gorilla, gun, gunsel, hardnose, hatchet man, hell-raiser, hellcat, hellhound, hellion, hit man, holy terror, hood, hooligan, hothead, hotspur, imp, incendiary, joker, jokester, jouster, killer, knave, knight, little devil, little monkey, little rascal, mad dog, madcap, militant, minx, mischief, mischief-maker, mobsman, mobster, monster, mug, mugger, muscle man, pixie, plug-ugly, practical joker, prankster, puck, quarreler, racketeer, rapist, rapscallion, rascal, revolutionary, rioter, rival, rodman, rogue, rough, roughneck, rowdy, ruffian, sabreur, savage, scamp, scapegrace, scrapper, scuffler, she-wolf, spitfire, squabbler, strong arm, strong-arm man, strong-armer, struggler, swashbuckler, sword, swordplayer, swordsman, termagant, terror, terrorist, thug, tiger, tigress, tilter, torpedo, tough, tough guy, trigger man, tussler, ugly customer, violent, virago, vixen, wag, wild beast, witch, wolf, wrangler
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