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[gang-ster] /ˈgæŋ stər/
a member of a gang of criminals, especially a racketeer.
Origin of gangster
1895-1900, Americanism; gang1 + -ster
mobster, hoodlum, crook, thug; hood, goon. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gangster
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Though it had the sound of an oath, it was perhaps as near a prayer as the gangster had ever uttered.

    Our Square and the People in It Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • He slipped into position on one side of the gangster, Ginsburg on the other.

    From Place to Place Irvin S. Cobb
  • The man reminded him of a Chicago gangster he once had seen captured.

  • The gangster must have received the liquid fire in the face and eyes.

  • The young visitor readily concurred in the plan, he wanted to see the house that the gangster had built anyhow.

    David Lannarck, Midget George S. Harney
British Dictionary definitions for gangster


a member of an organized gang of criminals, esp one who resorts to violence
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gangster

1896, American English, from gang in its criminal sense + -ster.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for gangster



: gangster movie/ the gangster menace


  1. A member of a criminal gang; an organized-crime figure; mobster, wiseguy (1908+)
  2. A marijuana cigarette: Just go on and smoke that gangster and be real cool (1950s+ Narcotics)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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