- a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer.
- (sometimes initial capital letter) one of a former group of professional robbers and murderers in India who strangled their victims.
Origin of thug
Examples from the Web for thuggish
But the real situation is far more complex than the simple, thuggish gubernatorial action suggests.New York & New Jersey’s Ebola Quarantines Are an Insane Overreaction
October 26, 2014
Women would refuse to go near any man with thuggish associations, for real—barely a thug could expect to get any action.The War on Drugs Is What Makes Thugs
August 21, 2014
Unsurprisingly, the thuggish Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was among the first, along with then-apartheid South Africa.A World Without Elephants? Blame China
August 6, 2014
Alexander Litvinenko had angered the Kremlin with repeated claims that Putin was running a thuggish and brutal regime.Brits Investigate Assassination of the Spy Who Warned Us About Putin
July 22, 2014
Bridgegate has revealed that the governor is as thuggish and corrupt as he seemed to opponents in 2009.Is This the Beginning of the End for Chris Christie?
January 8, 2014
- a tough and violent man, esp a criminal
- (sometimes capital) (formerly) a member of an organization of robbers and assassins in India who typically strangled their victims
Word Origin and History for thuggish
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.