The "Hooligan" Boys 1896

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Nov 3 15:28:05 UTC 2007

Walt Whitman once described himself as "one of the roughs."  In those days it was much more common than "tough."


Your Name <ROSESKES at AOL.COM> wrote:
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Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Your Name
Subject: Re: The "Hooligan" Boys 1896

Maybe the police report originally said "toughs," but was misterpreted by the
newspaper. In a handwritten report, a "t" could look like an "r."


Why isn't "phonetic" spelled the way it sounds? And why is "abbreviation" so

In a message dated 11/2/2007 10:52:29 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
hwgray at GMAIL.COM writes:

"Gang of roughs" instead of "gang of toughs"? Interesting!


On 11/1/07, Stephen Goranson wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Stephen Goranson
> Subject: The "Hooligan" Boys 1896
> OED2 has "Origin unascertained. The word first appears in print in daily
> newspaper police-court reports in the summer of 1898...."
> Liverpool Mercury etc (Liverpool, England), December 26, 1896; Issue
> 15285, page
> 3
> Category:News [19th Century British Library Newspapers]
> Mr. A. C. Langham, the Southwark coroner, held and inquiry with
> reference to the
> death of... Nellie Bryan....alleged...kicks received from a gang of roughs
> attacked her for robbery....The Coroner: Whom did you understand her to mean
> had attacked her?--Witness: One of the Hooligan gangs about the district....
> Stephen Goranson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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