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Updated on September 16, 2010

What Exactly is a Hooligan?

I really like the word HOOLIGAN ! I like the way it just sort of rolls out of the mouth, pushed by the vocal cords, caressed by the tongue. It's fun.

But where does it come from? What does it mean?

We all understand that to use the word hooligan in a sentence is to imply a certain amount of ... wildness. It indicates a rowdiness, or a willingness and/or ability to disrupt.

From "The Mad Hooligan Story" by Brooks Hamilton: "H ooligan" derived from the name of an Irish seaman of the 18th century who had been impressed into the royal Navy in those days of wooden ships and iron men. He was so recalcitrant about accepting the discipline of the hated British lion, he became known as "the roughest, toughest sailor in all the Royal Navee!"

According to, Hooligan is a variant of the Irish name Houlihan or O hUallachain , and somewhere along the line some street tough of that name left it for posterity. But the specific person whom the term originally referred to has been lost to the ages. Often suggested is a Patrick Hooligan or a Hooley gang who (separately) terrorized a section of London in the 1890s. From the 26 July 1898 Daily News : gives us this:

Thu 05 May 2009 An Irishman's Diary

THE ANGLICISED “Hooligan” is one of those Irish names that seems to have disappeared from the face of the globe. Perhaps the last holders of it, first stigmatised by the word’s modern meaning, were then hunted to extinction. More likely, discretion persuaded them all to adopt the more standard English spelling, Houlihan; or to go the whole hog and revert to the Irish Ó hUallacháin.

There are Football Hooligans. You can even go to a website that documents the "rise and fall of football hooliganism in the UK", at:

There is suppose to be a DJ Hooligan at: But if you go there, you'll see, "No Biography Found", with no image available, and learn that the genre is dance and electronic. Wha...what?

There's Hooligan streetwear. I'm not sure, but I think it makes you look rough and tough.

You can call your kid a Hooligan when said kid acts up, acts out, smarts off, or bows up. Or you can actually name your kid Hooligan, just so everybody either leaves him alone, or messes with him so much that he becomes a Hooligan. But I doubt it's a good idea.

The band Kiss did a song titled: "Hooligan". Here's the lyrics, in case you're interested...

You can get your hands on a Coleman Hooligan 2 Backpacking Tent at: It's a convenient, small-sized tent that's ideal for weekend camping adventures.

You can go to: and maybe make a friend. But I'm not sure.

All and all, I think everyone should make a concentrated effort to use the word "hooligan" as often as possible, in any sentence we can squeeze it into. I think this wonderful word has been monopolized by a certain secter, and we should all do our part to make it more accessable for general conversation!

So... don't just use the word when you want to discribe a rough and tumble crew of preschoolers at the park durning a play-date! Go ahead and use the word while toasting your inlaw's 50th wedding anniversary! If you use your imagination you can even apply the word to your cousin Murtle's guinea pigs! It's true! Watch the follwing video...

Like I said at the beginning, I really enjoy the word hooligan, and I hope you do too!



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    • RunAbstract profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from USA

      blark. LOL! I think I will start using "rapfooligan" in my daily conversations too!

      Thanks for droping by!

    • blark profile image


      8 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

      Ah yes, hooligan. It is part of that glorious trio of words I enjoy so much: hooligan, tomfoolery, and rapscallion. Sometimes I modify them to meet my needs, for example Tomfoolerist and Hooliganry.

      Sometimes I'll combine all three, like in rapfooligan! A fine hub on a great word.

    • RunAbstract profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from USA

      Dim Flaxenwick, I'm so glad you enjoyed this! And yeah... the baby name thing is a little overboard.

      Thank you so much for the comment!

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      8 years ago from Great Britain

      I found this absolutely hilarious. You have a gift.

      Think l´d have to draw the line at naming a baby hooligan. Thanks for a great read.

    • RunAbstract profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from USA

      Just can't keep 'em down!

    • billyaustindillon profile image


      8 years ago

      Bloody hooligans at it again 'eh :)

    • RunAbstract profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from USA


    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      cool.. interesting word, and hub!!

    • RunAbstract profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from USA

      I'm very glad you liked it.

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 

      8 years ago from Canada

      People would dread my sons and their cousins coming up the road and say, 'the lil hooligans are ready for mischief!' :) it is a good word, lol.


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