> goon > > goon gun. slang. Perhaps a shortened form of dial. gooney (gony 1) > `a booby, a simpleton'; but more immediately from the name of a > subhuman creature called Alice the Goon in a popular cartoon series > by E. C. Segar (1894-1938), American cartoonist. > > 1. A stolid, dull, or stupid person. orig. U.S. > > * 1921 F. L. Allen in Harper's Mag. Dec. 121/1 (title) The Goon > and his Style. > > * 1921 F. L. Allen in Harper's Mag. Dec. 121/1 (title 121/2 )A > goon is a person with a heavy touch as distinguished from a > jigger, who has a light touch. While jiggers look on life with > a genial eye, goons take a more stolid and literal view. > > * 1938 Life 14 Nov. 6/3 The word `Goon' was first popularized by > college students who used it to mean any stupid person. Labor > union lingo has given it a second meaning: a tough or thug. > Rival unions and factions speak of another's `Goon Squads'. > > * 1938 R. Chandler Trouble is my Business (1950) 80 Some goon > here plays chess. You? > > * 1940 R. Stout Over My Dead Body iv. 57 You may be a couple of > goons... But I'm asking you a damn straight question. > > * 1942 D. Powell Time to be Born (1943) vii. 175 You sit there > gawping at him like some little goon. > > * 1945 Partridge Dict. R.A.F. Slang 30 Goon, a fool, very stupid > fellow; a gaper. > > * 1951 J. Wyndham Day of Triffids viii. 154 The goon started to > argue. > > * 1957 R. M. Wardle Oliver Goldsmith i. 3 It was Goldsmith's > misfortune that he was a jigger fallen among goons. > > * 1957 R. M. Wardle Oliver Goldsmith 5 William Cooke was a goon. > Apparently it never entered his head that a man-especially an > Irishman-might have preferred, for the joke's sake, to use a > word which didn't make sense. > > * 1959 S. Clark Puma's Claw xii. 135 There, you goon. You'll bump > into them if you don't watch out. > > 2. A person hired (esp. by racketeers) to terrorize workers; a thug. > orig. U.S. > > * 1938 Amer. Speech XIII. 178 In the Pacific Northwest we hear > the word goon on every hand. Locally a goon is a member of a > labor-union's beef-squad; that is, a person of imposing > physique and inferior moral and mental qualities who can be > depended on to cow and frighten recalcitrant union-members. > > * 1938 [see sense 1 above]. > > * 1940 Chicago Tribune 28 Jan. 1/8 `Goon' is a term applied to > hired sluggers used in labor troubles... A typical goon murder > was the recent killing in Chicago of..a garage-man involved in > a union dispute. > > * 1959 [see fink sb.2]. > > * 1969 New Yorker 20 Dec. 88/3 Many so-called `goons'-civilian > terrorists, sometimes dressed in Constabulary uniforms-took > over in many provinces. > > * 1971 Blitz (Bombay) 6 Mar. 13/4 Attempts on his life by goons > allegedly employed by the Calcutta police authorities. > > * 1971 It 2-16 June 5/1 Heath orders Habershon of Barnet CID to > `turn London over'. And he does exactly that..with 500 goons > and a score of specially trained dogs. > > 3. A nickname given by British and U.S. prisoners of war to their > German guards in the war of 1939-45. Also transf. So > > goon-up! > > goon-up!, a warning cry. > > * 1945 G. Morgan Only Ghosts can Live 140, I think it was an > Australian who first called the Germans `Goons'. > > * 1945 G. Morgan Only Ghosts can Live, 140, The cry, `Goon up!' > remained in many camps a warning of the approach of the > Detaining Power. > > * 1948 Amer. Speech XXIII. 218 The word for German was invariably > goon among airmen, American and British alike... It was also > used as the adjective part of a compound noun,..e.g. a goon-box > was one of the guard towers along the fences around the camp. > > * 1952 E. F. Davies Illyrian Venture xi. 218 At midnight the Goon > Postern (German sentry) was astounded to see a large naked form > flying three times round the courtyard in a temperature of 25 > degrees of frost. > > * 1962 V. Nabokov Pale Fire 55 Morning finds us marching to the > wall Under the direction of some goon Political, some uniformed > baboon. > > 4. (With capital initial.) Any one of the members of the cast of a > popular British radio comedy series, > > The Goon Show > > The Goon Show, noted for its crazy and absurd brand of humour. > > * 1951 Radio Times 25 May 18/2 (heading) Crazy people... Radio's > Own Crazy Gang `The Goons'. > > * 1951 Radio Times 25 May 18/2 (heading 18/3 )Spike Milligan..has > compiled the `Goon Show' material. > > * 1951 [see below s.v. *goonery]. > > * 1958 Observer 18 May 14/4 The department of jokes, only a > shadow of its former self without the Goons. > > * 1958 Listener 25 Sept. 481/2 Lovers of the Goon Shows. > > * 1962 A. Nisbett Technique Sound Studio x. 173 Just about the > ultimate in this line of effects was reached when in a `Goon > Show' the script demanded `a 16-ton, 112-horsepower, 6-litre, > brassbound electric racing organ fitted with a cardboard > warhead'. > > * 1970 Sun 28 July 3/5 The Goons are returning to radio-after 10 > years in cold storage. > > * 1971 S. Milligan in D. Nathan Laughtermakers ii. 49 Prisoners > of war called their German guards goons but I got it from > Popeye. There was a creature called the Goon which had nothing > in the face at all except hair... I liked the word and we > called it The Goons. > > 5. attrib. and Comb., as (sense 2) > > goon squad > > goon squad, > > tactics > > tactics; (sense 3) > > goon-baiting > > goon-baiting vbl. sb.; > > goon box > > goon box, a guard tower at a P.O.W. camp; (sense 4) > > goon-like > > goon-like, > > goon-type > > -type adjs. Also > > goonskin > > goonskin (see quot. 1943). > > * 1962 Times 12 Oct. 15/4 `Goon-baiting', which was the favourite > occupation of the prisoners. > > * 1948 Goon-box [see sense 3 above]. > > * 1956 A. Crawley Escape from Germany 31 Watch towers..covering > the interior of the camp. To the prisoners they were known as > `goon boxes'. > > * 1963 Times 21 Feb. 16/7 Mr Horst Buchholz, whose mixture of > American and Indian accents is given an even more goon-like > quality by the over-used attempt to inject local colour with > the tag-phrase `isn't it?' > > * 1943 C. H. Ward-Jackson Piece of Cake 32 Goonskin, observer's > flying suit and parachute harness made in one piece. > > * 1957 Rawnsley & Wright Night Fighter 37 The fur-lined leather > trousers and jacket known to us as `Goon Skins'. > > * 1937 Nation 4 Sept. 239/2 The goon squad, as it is commonly > called, consists of at least twenty picked thugs and > ex-convicts. > > * 1951 E. Paul Springtime in Paris xi. 202 The Existentialists > allege that the Communists send goon squads to the district, as > a part of their anti-American, anti-tourist campaign. > > * 1962 K. Orvis Damned & Destroyed ix. 62 I'm lucky the > goon-squad haven't back-handed me into a lane and kicked me to > death. > > * 1967 N. Mailer Cannibals & Christians i. 32 He talked > of..`strong-arm and goon tactics'. > > * 1967 Listener 10 Aug. 187/3 And I'm Sorry, I'll Read That > Again, a happy reminder of happy Goon-type days. > > Hence > > goonery > > 'goonery, a foolish or absurd kind of humour typical of a Goon > (sense 4); > > goonish > > 'goonish a., of, pertaining to, or resembling a goon (senses 1 and > 4). > > * 1921 F. L. Allen in Harper's Mag. Dec. 122/1 A goonish style is > one that reads as if it were the work of a goon. It is thick > and heavy. > > * 1951 Picture Post 16 June 34 Four young comics-Michael Bentine, > Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers-have at last > got together in a radio programme. In `Crazy People' they put > across their favoured kind of humour. This they call > `goonery'... General opinion was that if you like crazy, > pun-dizzy, logic-smashing comedy that doesn't despise your > intelligence, you'll like the Goons. > > * 1958 Vogue Jan. 49 George Devine and Joan Plowright..made this > extraordinary play a startlingly moving piece of theatre and > gave the dialogue..a quality of abstract goonery. > > * 1959 Listener 12 Mar. 485/2 An hour..which had some elements of > Goonery. > > * 1959 Sunday Times 29 Mar. 17/5 Photographs by Inge Morath that > have that air of solemnity suppressing a giggle that has become > known, in this country at least, as `goonish'. > > * 1960 Design July 23/1 If you can force yourself past the first > few sentences the Goonish mixture is oddly funny. > > * 1968 Times 27 Feb. 3/8 This is a victory for Spike Milligan and > goonery.