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goon

[goon]
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noun
  1. Informal. a hired hoodlum or thug.
  2. Slang.
    1. a stupid, foolish, or awkward person.
    2. a roughneck.

Origin of goon

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for goon

goon1

noun
  1. a stupid or deliberately foolish person
  2. 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

goon2

noun
  1. Australian 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

Word Origin and History for goon

n.

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