1 : thug; especially : a violent criminal
2 : a young ruffian
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.
The shaken couple tried to give the police an accurate physical description of the hoodlums who assailed them in the parking lot.
"The iconic opening shot of director Danny Boyle's 1996 'Trainspotting' was of junkie hoodlum Mark Renton's feet pounding the pavement while he and his mates bolted down an Edinburgh street pursued by police." — Sean Burns, WBUR.org, 23 Mar. 2017
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