[ hood-luh m, hoo d- ]
/ ˈhud ləm, ˈhʊd- /


a thug or gangster.
a young street ruffian, especially one belonging to a gang.

Origin of hoodlum

1870–75, Americanism; probably < dialectal German; compare Swabian derivatives of Hudel rag, e.g. hudelum disorderly, hudellam weak, slack Hudellump(e) rags, slovenly, careless person, and related words in other dialects

Related forms

hood·lum·ish, adjectivehood·lum·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hoodlum

British Dictionary definitions for hoodlum


/ (ˈhuːdləm) /


a petty gangster or ruffian
a lawless youth

Derived Forms

hoodlumism, noun

Word Origin for hoodlum

C19: perhaps from Southern German dialect Haderlump ragged good-for-nothing
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