Origin of thug
usage note for thug
In American English, the word is disproportionately applied to nonwhite perpetrators of violence or crime. White teens disturbing the peace at a party with loud music are more likely to be called troublemakers or hooligans. Their Black peers are more likely to be labeled thugs for the same offense. And following this common racialized usage, thug is used by some and interpreted by many as a code word for Black. In extreme cases, thug is chosen as a dog whistle to imply that Black people are generally prone to violence or criminality.
However, there is also a reclaimed sense of thug within the Black community, and particularly in the hip-hop community, one that acknowledges the violence implicit in the label while also celebrating toughness and street smarts.
Because thug has many implied connotations that may change depending on who is using the word and who is being described by it, it’s important to critically consider the context and tone around each particular instance of its use to truly understand what is being communicated.
OTHER WORDS FROM thugthug·ger·y [thuhg-uh-ree], /ˈθʌg ə ri/, nounthug·gish, adjective
How to use thug in a sentence
Biographer Andrew Roberts argues that history has maligned Napoleon by lumping him in with totalitarian thugs.
Survivors of the incident report that the police and thugs attacked the students three times.
Thugs attack pro-democracy demonstrators paralyzing parts of Hong Kong.
I want everything I ever believed to mean something and all the psychopaths, monsters and thugs of the world to know this.Thank Goodness We’ve Got A Plan! Let the War Begin!|Michael Carson|September 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Soon cover versions were recorded by acts like Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Dope, and Rage Against the Machine.
People endeavoured more especially to excite my apprehension by terrible accounts of the Thugs or stranglers.A Woman's Journey Round the World|Ida Pfeiffer
I now conceal not that we are Thugs—followers of the blessed Bhowanee, who will receive us into Paradise.
We accordingly left our home,—one hundred and twenty Thugs under myself and Peer Khan, who still stuck to me.
And I suspect he chose this post, if he had any choice in the matter, because he was likely to meet Thugs here.
Parties of Thugs passed rapidly to and fro, bearing the bodies of the dead, which were one by one thrown into the hole.