A thug is a bad guy or a bully, especially a violent one. A thug might break into someone's house, push its owners around, and steal their TV.

It's hard to reason with thugs, since they'd rather intimidate and physically hurt people than talk. A playground bully is one kind of thug, and an armed robber is an even more dangerous one. The noun thug may have its oldest roots in the Sanskrit word sthaga-s, "cunning or fraudulent," and it's definitely related to the Marathi and Hindi thag, "cheat or swindler." The earliest use of thug, from 1810, was "member of a murdering gang of robbers in India."

Definitions of thug
  1. noun
    an aggressive and violent young criminal
    synonyms: goon, hood, hoodlum, punk, strong-armer, tough, toughie
    see moresee less
    a hired thug
    type of:
    criminal, crook, felon, malefactor, outlaw
    someone who has committed a crime or has been legally convicted of a crime
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