A palooka is a boxer — not a champion but a second-rate fighter. If you were a sports writer in the 1930s, you probably used the word palooka a lot. Plus you probably wore one of those cool fedoras.

This funny-looking word has a meaning that's not very funny if it applies to you — a palooka is a boxer who's not very good. Palookas are run-of-the-mill, second- or third-rate boxers whose careers don't go very far. Since success is rare, most fighters are palookas. In the 1920s, Joe Palooka was an American comic strip about a prize fighter who didn’t like to fight.

Definitions of palooka
  1. noun
    a second-rate prize fighter
    synonyms: stumblebum
    see moresee less
    type of:
    boxer, pugilist
    someone who fights with his fists for sport
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘palooka'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up palooka for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer