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Shortened from gooney, from obsolete gony ("simpleton", circa 1580), of unknown origin. Perhaps a familiar term derived from Middle English gone, a variant of gome ("man, person"). Gony was applied by sailors to the albatross and similar big, clumsy birds (circa 1839). Goon first carried the meaning "stupid person" (circa 1921).
- The meaning of "hired thug" (circa 1938) is largely influenced by the comic strip character Alice the Goon from the Popeye series.
- The "fool" sense was reinforced by the popular radio program, The Goon Show, starring Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers.
- The "guard" sense was influenced by both senses 1 and 2, though not by the Goon Show reference, which arose about 10 years after WWII.
goon (plural goons)
- A thug; a usually muscular henchman with little intelligence (also known as a 'hired goon').
2009 February 22, Kevin Baker, "Blood on the Street", in New York Times:
Efforts to unionize were routinely met with clubbings, shootings, jailings, blacklistings and executions, perpetrated not only by well-armed legions of company goons, but also by police officers, deputies, National Guardsmen and even regular soldiers.
- A fool; someone considered silly, stupid, awkward, or outlandish.
1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 5, in The China Governess:
Mr. Campion appeared suitably impressed and she warmed to him. He was very easy to talk to with those long clown lines in his pale face, a natural goon, born rather too early she suspected.
- (ice hockey, derogatory) An enforcer or fighter.
- (Britain, WWII, PoW slang) A German guard in a prisoner-of-war camp.
- (Internet slang) A member of the comedy web site Something Awful.
Diminutive slang for flagon.
- (Australia, countable, informal) A wine flagon or cask.
- 2009, Stephen Cummings, Will It Be Funny Tomorrow, Billy?: Misadventures in Music, page 11,
- We drank goons of cheap wine.
- (Australia, uncountable, informal) Cheap or inferior cask wine.
- 2010, Patrick Holland, The Mary Smokes Boys, unnumbered page,
- 'On the night of our school graduation he stole a flagon of goon wine and disappeared into the woods. The police found him the next day asleep on the creek. [...] '
- 2010, Jason Leung, This All Encompassing Trip: Chasing Pearl Jam Around the World, page 384,
- With these instructions, we take turns sipping the wine directly from the bottle on the beach. It?s not the classiest thing to do but the fact that it?s in a bottle already makes it classier than all the boxes of goon we?ve consumed this trip.
- 2011, E.C. McSween, et al., Boganomics: The Science of Things Bogans Like, unnumbered page,
- Red wine was consumed largely by posh folk, white wine meant goon, mention of a Jägerbomb would have sent its father ducking for cover, and 'sex on the beach' meant just that.
- accusative singular of goo
- R?maji transcription of
- Alternative form of gon ("to go")