Definition of hooligan in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈho͞oləɡən/


A violent young troublemaker, typically one of a gang.
Example sentences
  • Residents are being driven out of their homes by young yobs and hooligans who are making their lives a misery.
  • There was nothing unusual about any of this and no doubt the hooligan gangs of both clubs were eager for more trouble after the game.
  • Officers have been given the go-ahead to impose curfews and exclusion zones on young hooligans.
troublemaker, delinquent, juvenile delinquent, mischief-maker, vandal;
rowdy, ruffian, yahoo


Late 19th century: perhaps from Hooligan, the surname of a fictional rowdy Irish family in a music-hall song of the 1890s, also of a character in a cartoon.

  • The Hooligans were a fictional rowdy Irish family in a music hall song of the 1890s, and a comic Irish character called Hooligan appeared in a series of adventures in the magazine Funny Folks. One or other may have given their name to the hooligan, a phenomenon who made his debut in newspaper reports of cases in police courts in 1898. The football hooligan is first mentioned in the mid 1960s. See also thug, vandal

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hoo·li·gan

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