from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Slang A thug hired to intimidate or harm opponents.
  • n. Slang A stupid or oafish person.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A thug; a usually muscular henchman with little intelligence (also known as a 'hired goon').
  • n. A fool; someone considered silly, stupid, awkward, or outlandish.
  • n. An enforcer or fighter.
  • n. A wine flagon or cask.
  • n. Cheap or inferior cask wine.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an awkward stupid person
  • n. an aggressive and violent young criminal


Probably ultimately short for gooney, simpleton.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Shortened from gooney, from obsolete gony ("simpleton", c.1580), of unknown origin. Gony was applied by sailors to the albatross and similar big, clumsy birds (c.1839). Goon first carried the meaning "stupid person" (c.1921). (Wiktionary)
Diminutive slang for flagon. (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Was in one of the local papers today. Story was about there perhaps being a levy placed on this kind of wine, partly because we have a major problem with street drunks and this is their tipple of choice, partly because the cask bladders they leave in their wake are a non-biodegradable blight on the landscape. First time I'd seen the term.

    September 10, 2009

  • --bilby, A little late to confirm, isn't it?

    When I see this word, I am forced to think of that really stupid song that my children's great-aunt insists on singing to them all the time, about Little Bunny Foo-foo. ...Dear God, why!?!?! Make it stop.

    September 10, 2009

  • I can confirm what AZ sez.

    September 10, 2009

  • I believe that Goon was used (maybe invented) by Segar, the creator of Popeye the sailor. Google Goon Segar
    Mack Kelly

    March 26, 2009

  • I can't remember who had the wine list, but in Australia, goon is the slang for bottom-of-the-barrel cask wine.

    March 9, 2007