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[goon] /gun/
Informal. a hired hoodlum or thug.
  1. a stupid, foolish, or awkward person.
  2. a roughneck.
1920-25; shortened from dial. gooney, variant of obsolete gony a simpleton (< ?); influenced by the comic-strip character Alice the Goon in the series Thimble Theatre by E. C. Segar (1894-1938), American cartoonist Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for goons
  • These are the same goons trying to use an infrared thermometer to measure air temperature.
  • goons were breaking into our place all hours of the night.
  • Several claim to have been beaten by goons hired by local officials.
  • The fight for the pie has the unions depicted as thieves and goons.
  • goons can threaten someone who annoys them too much.
  • The fact is when your figureheads are mindless goons it becomes impossible not to portray you in a bad light.
  • His goons had left a message for me at my hotel, through an intermediary.
  • Fishermen, kayakers, sailors and other less aggressive watercraft have been terrorized by these irresponsible goons for too long.
  • No matter about the implications of shady cops and political goons.
  • He's both sentimental and tough as nails, and sets about to liberate these two would-be goons.
British Dictionary definitions for goons


a stupid or deliberately foolish person
(US, informal) a thug hired to commit acts of violence or intimidation, esp in an industrial dispute
Word Origin
C20: partly from dialect gooney fool, partly after the character Alice the Goon, created by E. C. Segar (1894–1938), American cartoonist


(Austral, informal) cheap wine packaged in casks or boxed
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 goons



1921, "stupid person," from gony "simpleton" (1580s), of unknown origin, but applied by sailors to the albatross and similar big, clumsy birds (1839); sense of "hired thug" first recorded 1938 (in reference to union "beef squads" used to cow strikers in the Pacific northwest), probably from Alice the Goon, slow-witted and muscular (but gentle-natured) character in "Thimble Theater" comic strip (starring Popeye) by E.C. Segar (1894-1938). She also was the inspiration for British comedian Spike Milligan's "The Goon Show." What are now "juvenile delinquents" were in the 1940s sometimes called goonlets.

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



: goon squad/ his goon tactics

  1. A strong, rough, intimidating man, esp a paid ruffian: Fondled, pinched, handled by a big red-haired goon who was our jailer
  2. Any unattractive or unliked person; jerk, pill: He had the face of a pure goon
  3. The police

[mid-1930s+; origin uncertain; perhaps entirely fr the name of Alice the Goon, a large hairy creature who appeared in E C Segar's comic strip ''Thimble Theatre'' in 1936, but who had a very gentle disposition; perhaps connected with Frederick Lewis Allen's term for ''a person with a heavy touch,'' that is, a literary or stylistic touch, found by 1921; perhaps fr gooney]

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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