hoodlum

play
noun hood·lum \ˈhüd-ləm, ˈhu̇d-\

Definition of hoodlum

  1. 1 :  thug; especially :  a violent criminal

  2. 2 :  a young ruffian

hoodlumish

play \ˈhüd-lə-mish, ˈhu̇d-\ adjective

hoodlumism

play \ˈhüd-lə-ˌmi-zəm, ˈhu̇d-\ noun

hoodlum was our Word of the Day on 05/16/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of hoodlum in a Sentence

  1. a couple of hoodlums held up the convenience store

Recent Examples of hoodlum from the Web

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

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 and Etymology of hoodlum

perhaps from German dialect (Swabia) hudelum disorderly


First Known Use: 1866


HOODLUM Defined for English Language Learners

hoodlum

play
noun

Definition of hoodlum for English Language Learners

  • : a tough and violent criminal


HOODLUM Defined for Kids

hoodlum

play
noun hood·lum \ˈhüd-ləm, ˈhu̇d-\

Definition of hoodlum for Students

  1. :  a tough and violent criminal :  thug



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