ganging on


1 [gang]
a group or band: A gang of boys gathered around the winning pitcher.
a group of youngsters or adolescents who associate closely, often exclusively, for social reasons, especially such a group engaging in delinquent behavior.
a group of people with compatible tastes or mutual interests who gather together for social reasons: I'm throwing a party for the gang I bowl with.
a group of persons working together; squad; shift: a gang of laborers.
a group of persons associated for some criminal or other antisocial purpose: a gang of thieves.
a set of tools, electronic components or circuits, oars, etc., arranged to work together or simultaneously.
a group of identical or related items.
verb (used with object)
to arrange in groups or sets; form into a gang: to gang illustrations for more economical printing on one sheet.
to attack in a gang.
verb (used without object)
to form or act as a gang: Cutthroats who gang together hang together.
Verb phrases
gang up on, Informal. (of a number of persons) to unite in opposition to (a person); combine against: The bigger boys ganged up on the smaller ones in the schoolyard.

1300–50; Middle English; Old English gang, gong manner of going, way, passage; cognate with Old High German gang, Old Norse gangr, Gothic gagg; cf. gang2

1. company, crowd, crew; party, set, clique, coterie. 4. team. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gang1 (ɡæŋ)
1.  a group of people who associate together or act as an organized body, esp for criminal or illegal purposes
2.  an organized group of workmen
3.  a herd of buffaloes or elks or a pack of wild dogs
4.  (NZ) a group of shearers who travel to different shearing sheds, shearing, classing, and baling wool
5.  a.  a series of similar tools arranged to work simultaneously in parallel
 b.  (as modifier): a gang saw
6.  to form into, become part of, or act as a gang
7.  (tr) electronics to mount (two or more components, such as variable capacitors) on the same shaft, permitting adjustment by a single control
[Old English gang journey; related to Old Norse gangr, Old High German gang, Sanskrit jangha foot]

gang2 (ɡæŋ)
(Scot) to go
[Old English gangan to go1]

gang3 (ɡæŋ)
a variant spelling of gangue

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. gong "a going, journey, way, passage," and O.N. gangr "a group of men, a set," both from P.Gmc. *gangaz (noun of action related to *gangan "to go"), from PIE base *ghengh- "to step" (cf. Skt. jangha "shank," Avestan zanga- "ankle," Lith. zengiu "I stride"). The sense evolution is probably via meaning
"a set of articles that are usually taken together in going," especially a set of tools used on the same job. By 1620s this had been extended in nautical speech to mean "a company of workmen," and by 1630s the word was being used, with disapproving overtones, for "any band of persons traveling together." Gangway preserves the original sense of the word, as does gangplank (1846, Amer.Eng., replacing earlier gang-board). To gang up (on) is first attested 1925. To come on like gangbusters (c.1940) is from radio drama "Gangbusters" (1937-57) which always opened with a cacophony of sirens, screams, shots, and jarring music. Gang of Four (1976) translates Chinese sirenbang, the nickname given to the four leaders of the Cultural Revolution who took the fall in Communist China after the death of Mao.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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