[ goon ]
See synonyms for goon on
  1. Informal. a hired hoodlum or thug.

  2. Slang.

    • a stupid, foolish, or awkward person.

    • a rough, coarse person; roughneck.

Origin of goon

First recorded in 1920–25; shortened from dialectal gooney, variant of obsolete gony “a simpleton” (of unknown origin); influenced by the comic-strip character Alice the Goon in the series Thimble Theatre by E. C. Segar (1894–1938), American cartoonist Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use goon in a sentence

  • There were men standing on guard with magnum rifles, tough-looking professional goons in loose gray uniforms.

    The Sensitive Man | Poul William Anderson
  • Why are you goons moving that stuff ahead of schedule and without notifying balance control?

    Where I Wasn't Going | Walt Richmond
  • But really, after the way those Security goons acted, maybe he won't be mad if you handle it right.

    Where I Wasn't Going | Walt Richmond
  • And Russ Latterman, and maybe four or five Conservative goons he's managed to infiltrate into the store.

    Null-ABC | Henry Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire
  • I want wan of thim double goons, and the big wash toob full of b'ilin' wather and the long butcher knife and the bro'd axe.

    The Red Mustang | William O. Stoddard

British Dictionary definitions for goon (1 of 3)


/ (ɡuːn) /

  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

Origin of goon

C20: partly from dialect gooney fool, partly after the character Alice the Goon, created by E. C. Segar (1894–1938), American cartoonist

British Dictionary definitions for goon (2 of 3)


  1. Australian informal cheap wine packaged in casks or boxed

British Dictionary definitions for go on (3 of 3)

go on

verb(intr, mainly adverb)
  1. to continue or proceed

  2. to happen or take place: there's something peculiar going on here

  1. (of power, water supply, etc) to start running or functioning

  2. (preposition) to mount or board and ride on, esp as a treat: children love to go on donkeys at the seaside

  3. theatre to make an entrance on stage

  4. to act or behave: he goes on as though he's rich

  5. to talk excessively; chatter

  6. to continue talking, esp after a short pause: ``When I am Prime Minister,'' he went on, ``we shall abolish taxes.''

  7. (foll by at) to criticize or nag: stop going on at me all the time!

  8. (preposition) to use as a basis for further thought or action: the police had no evidence at all to go on in the murder case

  9. (foll by for) British to approach (a time, age, amount, etc): he's going on for his hundredth birthday

  10. cricket to start to bowl

  11. to take one's turn

  12. (of clothes) to be capable of being put on

  13. go much on (used with a negative) British to care for; like

  14. something to go on or something to be going on with something that is adequate for the present time

  1. I don't believe what you're saying

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with goon


Happen, take place, as in What's going on here? [Early 1700s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.