goon

1 of 2

noun

1
: a stupid person
2
a
: a man hired to terrorize or eliminate opponents

go on

2 of 2

verb

went on; gone on; going on; goes on

intransitive verb

1
a
: to continue on or as if on a journey
life goes on
went on to greater things
b
: to keep on : continue
went on smoking
c
: proceed
went on to win the election
2
: to take place : happen
what's going on
3
: to talk especially in an effusive manner
the way people go on about their ancestorsHamilton Basso

Examples of goon in a Sentence

Noun He was beat up by a couple of goons. an unfortunate tendency to call those who disagree with him “brainless goons Verb what in the world is going on in there? my, but Aunt Betty does go on about all of her aches and pains
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Paul’s goon Jeff gave him brass knuckles, and though the referee took them away, Paul capitalized on a low blow and a reverse Paul Crushing Finale. Alfred Konuwa, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 Led by the sadistic Agent Pamela Harris (Amy Ryan in a disappointing, lackluster performance), who claims Bob has been selling secrets to the enemy, the goons chase our heroes up the Eastern Seaboard. Miami Staff, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 One example is Maya’s unapologetic response to bombing one of Kingpin’s operations, an act of war that leads his goons to her hometown. David Zimmermann, National Review, 27 Jan. 2024 But his gambling catches up to him, and a few goons are sent to track him down. Robert Daniels, New York Times, 26 Jan. 2024 By the time Emma’s former handler (Connie Nielsen) shows up at their home with goons in tow and orders her to kill her husband, the storyline has degenerated from mildly amusing black comedy to silly action-movie tropes. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Jan. 2024 On November 6, a group called Just Stop Oil sent two goons with hammers to maul the picture. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 23 Dec. 2023 Will Adam prove a match for a heavily armed government security team, the FBI agents and the scuzzy goon squad hired by Westwyld? David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Jan. 2024 Squads of goons carrying enormous guns line up for Statham to take on one at a time. Peter Debruge, Variety, 10 Jan. 2024
Verb
Forever lucky to have gone on such a journey with you. Tatiana Tenreyro, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Feb. 2024 On Wednesday, thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers went on strike in 10 cities nationwide. Vinod Sreeharsha, Miami Herald, 15 Feb. 2024 While the Chiefs had plenty going on in the locker room following last year’s Super Bowl win over the Philadelphia Eagles, there wasn’t much in the way of cigars. Jesse Newell, Kansas City Star, 15 Feb. 2024 The couple went on the spend New Year’s Eve together, with the Only Murders in the Building actress sharing a photo to her Instagram Stories, in which Blanco has his arms wrapped around Gomez and seems to be giving her a kiss. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, 15 Feb. 2024 Despite this, the pair went on a date anyway, and the rest is history. Becca Longmire, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2024 Disney then went on to spend millions on an Oscar campaign for the film. Addie Morfoot, Variety, 3 Feb. 2024 Bonet went on to marry actor Jason Momoa in 2017 after a long-term relationship dating back to 2005. Elizabeth Ayoola and Victoria Uwumarogie, Essence, 3 Feb. 2024 The mixed reality headset went on sale at Apple Stores across the country as some eager shoppers were among the first to get their hands on what promises to be one of the most innovative tech products in years. Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN, 2 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'goon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

probably short for English dialect gooney simpleton

First Known Use

Noun

1921, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of goon was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near goon

Cite this Entry

“Goon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/goon. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

goon

1 of 2 noun
1
: a stupid person
2
: a person hired to terrorize or beat up or kill opponents : thug

go on

2 of 2 verb
1
a
: to continue on or as if on a journey
life goes on
b
: to keep on : continue
went on talking
2
: to take place : happen
what's going on
Etymology

Noun

probably a shortened form of a dialect word gooney "simpleton"

Word Origin
Some comic strips have had a lasting effect on culture. One such strip, first drawn in the 1920s by Elzie Segar and now known as "Popeye," apparently was responsible for adding the word goon to the every-day language. One of the characters Segar created for the comic strip looked a bit like an overgrown pear with legs. This creature, which was not really human, had a big nose, a bald head, and hairy arms and legs. It was called "Alice the goon." Alice was basically good-hearted but not very smart. As a result of the popularity of the comic strip and of Alice, people began to use the word goon in the meaning "a stupid person" or "a person with not much common sense." Later, when thugs and criminals were hired to terrorize workers during labor troubles in the 1930s, these thugs, whose actions weren't very "human," were also called goons. But even though Alice may have been responsible for making the word goon popular, the word may not have started with the comic strip. The word can be traced back to an English dialect word gooney, first used in the 16th century, meaning "a person lacking in common sense, simpleton."

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