palooka

play
noun pa·loo·ka \pə-ˈlü-kə\

Definition of palooka

  1. 1 :  an inexperienced or incompetent boxer

  2. 2 :  oaf, lout

palooka was our Word of the Day on 05/11/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of palooka in a Sentence

  1. I wish he wouldn't bring over here that bunch of palookas he calls his friends.

Did You Know?

The origin of palooka is unknown, though various theories have been put forth. (Some sources credit the baseball player and sportswriter Jack Conway with the coinage, for example.) Palooka first appeared in print in 1920 and may have been popularized by a comic strip titled "Joe Palooka" (by Ham Fisher), which debuted in newspapers a decade later. The probable connection between Fisher's comic and palooka only adds to the mystery surrounding this term, however. Joe Palooka was a boxer who was neither incompetent nor clumsy and oafish, and yet the word palooka came to have those negative meanings. In addition, palooka has been used as a general synonym for rookie and also as a term describing horses with very little chance of winning.

Origin and Etymology of palooka

origin unknown


First Known Use: 1920

Other Combat Sports Terms



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