Why turkey has the same name as Turkey
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.
: goon squad/ his goon tacticsnoun
[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]