gangster

play
noun gang·ster \ˈgaŋ-stər\

Definition of gangster

  1. :  a member of a gang of criminals :  racketeer

gangsterdom

play \ˈgaŋ-stər-dəm\ noun

gangsterish

play \ˈgaŋ-stə-rish\ adjective

gangsterism

play \ˈgaŋ-stə-ˌri-zəm\ noun

Examples of gangster in a Sentence

  1. Al Capone remains one of the most notorious gangsters in American history.

Recent Examples of gangster from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gangster'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

What is the history of the word gangster?

Gangster came into the English language at the latter portion of the 19th century, as one of what is now a large parcel of words which have been formed by adding the noun combining form –ster to an existing word. The ending -ster has a number of possible meanings (“one that does, handles, or operates,” “one that makes or uses,” “one that is associated with or participates in,” “one that is”), and one of its interesting elements is that it has, in many cases, shifted its gender. This second portion of gangster comes from the Old English -estre, meaning “female agent.” The word tapster ("a bartender"), for instance, was tæppestre in Old English, and designated a barmaid, or female tapster. In modern use the addition of -ster may often be found in a gender-neutral sense, as with hipster, or with implications of masculinity, as with gangster and mobster, through prevalence of usage.

Origin and Etymology of gangster

2gang + -ster


GANGSTER Defined for English Language Learners

gangster

play
noun

Definition of gangster for English Language Learners

  • : a member of a group of violent criminals


GANGSTER Defined for Kids

gangster

play
noun gang·ster \ˈgaŋ-stər\

Definition of gangster for Students

  1. :  a member of a gang of criminals


Law Dictionary

gangster

noun gang·ster

Legal Definition of gangster

  1. :  a member of a gang of criminals



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