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

  • noun A tough and aggressive or violent youth.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Originally, a member of a South London gang of young street rowdies said to have been led by one named Hooligan, who indulged in boisterous horseplay and breaches of the peace; hence, any street ruffian, especially one who is a member of an organized gang; a ‘hoodlum.’
  • To play the hooligan.
  • To assault in the manner of the hooligans.

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

  • noun informal, pejorative A person that causes trouble or violence.

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

  • noun a cruel and brutal fellow


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

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Almost certainly from the surname Houlihan.



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  • Also a colloquial name for the mighty eulachon, or Thaleichthys pacificus, an anadromous smelt of the north Pacific. It is also called the candlefish because, as Wikipedia tells us, "if caught, dried, and strung on a wick, it can be burned as a candle."

    I can only imagine how that was discovered.

    January 16, 2008

  • Wow. That must be one oily fish.

    January 16, 2008

  • Well, like they say: The oily fish gets the worm.

    January 17, 2008

  • Haha! Oily birds aren't quite as funny, of course. :-(

    January 17, 2008

  • The term "hooligan" has a disputed derivation, but it is generally accepted to have begun to appear in London police reports in 1898 in relation to violent street gangs.

    Writer, Clarence Rook (1862-1915) wrote a book entitled The Hooligan Nights which was about a young criminal’s story told in his own words.

    In this account, Rook wrote: “There was but a few years ago, a man called Patrick Hooligan, who walked to and fro among his fellow men, robbing and occasionally bashing them.�?

    January 24, 2008