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2017 Word of the Year

thug

[thuhg] /θʌg/
noun
1.
a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer.
2.
(sometimes initial capital letter) one of a former group of professional robbers and murderers in India who strangled their victims.
Origin of thug
1800-1810
First recorded in 1800-10, thug is from the Hindi word thag literally, rogue, cheat
Related forms
thuggery
[thuhg-uh-ree] /ˈθʌg ə ri/ (Show IPA),
noun
thuggish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for thug
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I'm going to catch this thug and I'll tell you how I'll do it.

    The Misplaced Battleship Harry Harrison (AKA Henry Maxwell Dempsey)
  • His fist hit the thug in the elbow, just as the man's hand reached for his knife.

    Police Your Planet Lester del Rey
  • About every day I have to send for the sheriff and have some thug arrested.

  • Of course it seemed ridiculous that a thug should strangle the old man.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • He had changed from a thug into a determined, ambitious man.

    The Destroyers Gordon Randall Garrett
British Dictionary definitions for thug

thug

/θʌɡ/
noun
1.
a tough and violent man, esp a criminal
2.
(sometimes capital) (formerly) a member of an organization of robbers and assassins in India who typically strangled their victims
Derived Forms
thuggery, noun
thuggish, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Hindi thag thief, from Sanskrit sthaga scoundrel, from sthagati to conceal
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 thug
n.

1810, "member of a gang of murderers and robbers in India who strangled their victims," from Marathi thag, thak "cheat, swindler," Hindi thag, perhaps from Sanskrit sthaga-s "cunning, fraudulent," possibly from sthagayati "(he) covers, conceals," from PIE root *(s)teg- "cover" (see stegosaurus). Transferred sense of "ruffian, cutthroat" first recorded 1839. The more correct Indian name is phanseegur, and the activity was described in English as far back as c.1665. Rigorously prosecuted by the British from 1831, they were driven from existence, but the process extended over the rest of the 19c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Word Value for thug

8
9
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