Simple Definition of hoodlum
: a tough and violent criminal
Examples of hoodlum in a sentence
<a couple of hoodlums held up the convenience store>
Did You Know?
A hoodlum can be anyone from a dangerous thug to a young person who’s just up to no good. The exact origins of the word are not known, but one theory is that the word derives from hudelum, an adjective that means "disorderly" in dialects of German spoken in and around the region of Swabia. A similar-looking word for a young troublemaker is hooligan, but that word is not related to hoodlum; rather, it most likely derives from the name of Patrick Hooligan, an Irish youth purported to have wreaked havoc in the streets of Southwark, England, in the late 19th century.
Origin of hoodlum
perhaps from German dialect (Swabia) hudelum disorderly
First Known Use: 1871
HOODLUM Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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