Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A gangster; a thug.
  • noun A tough, often aggressive or violent youth.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A young hectoring street rowdy; one of a gang of ruffians; a lounging, good-for-nothing, quarrelsome fellow; a rough.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Colloq. U.S. A young rowdy; a rough, lawless fellow; colloquially, called also hood.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun a gangster; a hired thug
  • noun a rough or violent youth

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an aggressive and violent young criminal

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Attested since 1871. Many sources have been proposed, but none are certain. The Online Etymology Dictionary suggests that it may derive from Bavarian German Haddalump ("ragamuffin").

Examples

Comments

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  • hoodlum started as the name of a gang leader, Muldoon. A reporter reversed it to Noodlum, but the typesetter misread the reporter's handwriting and put it in the paper as "hoodlum".

    April 12, 2008

  • Interesting!

    March 9, 2009