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[gang-ster] /ˈgæŋ stər/
a member of a gang of criminals, especially a racketeer.
Origin of gangster
An Americanism dating back to 1895-1900; gang1 + -ster
mobster, hoodlum, crook, thug; hood, goon. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gangster
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The man reminded him of a Chicago gangster he once had seen captured.

  • He slipped into position on one side of the gangster, Ginsburg on the other.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb
  • "I thought so," he said, choosing to ignore the gangster and addressing Casane.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb
  • Most of you are of no higher motivation than are the two dictators and your gangster Clyden.

    The Galaxy Primes Edward Elmer Smith
  • The gangster must have received the liquid fire in the face and eyes.

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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