[Ads-l] Fuller Citation for First Use of "Hoodlum"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Tue Nov 4 17:30:54 UTC 2014


The OED's first use for "hoodlum" is dated 1871.  In a 2006 ADS-L posting I pushed this back to 1866.  Three years later Stephen Goranson pointed one that, one day prior to my citation, the same newspaper, the San Francisco Evening Bulletin, Dec. 14, 1866, used the word.  Since the Dec. 14 citation is more interesting than the Dec. 15 one I had posted, and Stephen posted only part of one sentence of it, I am giving a fuller version below:

1866 _San Francisco Evening Bulletin_ 14 Dec. 5 (America's Historical Newspapers)  We yesterday mentioned the arrest of five boys who have been committing petty thefts for some days past. ... It is doubtful if any thieves ever did a more driving business than these young fellows, for all of their plunder has been stolen since last Saturday night.  They call themselves the "Hoodlum Band," and unless their thieving propensities are nipped in the bud, the reputation of Orliniski will fade before that of a "Hoodlum." ... Among other exploits of the "Hoodlums" was the stealing of a lot of keys from the pockets of a clerk in an office on Montgomery street, to enter the office and unlock and rob the safe of $2 in silver.

Fred Shapiro


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