According to the Oxford dictionary (UK), the term «hooligan» originated either from the name of a rowdy Irish family or a rowdy Irish bouncer named Hoolihan.
The American definition of «hooligan»: «A violent person who fights or causes damage in public places» or «A violent young troublemaker, typically one of a gang.» So, he may be a lone-wolf bully (bully acting by himself) or may be affiliated with a gang. (And a «cyber-bully» is someone who will threaten, stalk, or insult someone online)
Two examples of «hooligans» in Russian theatre are, Vladimir Mayakovsky’s silent film, The Young Lady and the Hooligan (1918) and the ballet based on the film with the same title (premiered in 1962 at the Maly Opera Theatre). In this context, a hooligan is a bully — but who will protect the one he loves and will die for her, too!
I love the term «hooligan»! To me, it elicits some loathsome character straight out of a Dostoevsky novel translated into American English — you know the guy — there was, at least, one in each book — right? For instance, Raskolnikov, in Crime and Punishment, was described as a «hooligan» (because he hadn’t pay his hotel bill) and there was one described as a «hooligan» somewhere in Demons, as I recall.
In the States we don’t use the term «hooligan.» Rather, in the 50s, the actor, James Dean, played a «hoodlum» in three movies. I remember growing up in the 60s hearing the term «juvenile delinquent.» Juvenile delinquents were prone to some level of violence and often headed to «juvey,» meaning going to juvenile court and probably ending up in juvenile jail. Currently, we use the word «trouble-maker» or a «bully» to describe a «hooligan». But I should mention here, «hoodlum» and especially «thug» are two racially charged words that shouldn’t be used in the US. In the African American communities, these words have been revealed as code words for someone with black skin — a replacement of the «N-word». While whites will be referred to, innocently, as «troublemakers,» «rowdy» «letting off steam,» or even, «mentally ill», blacks, on the other hand, will be referred to «thugs» — even when no criminality is present.
Interestingly, there have been newspapers in the States that have used the word «hooliganism» when describing violence in sports — when a lone-wolf, gang, or mob has attacked players. Apparently, this usage began in the 70s in the UK, and is still used today by both the UK and the US. And in Russia, you may remember that three members of Pussy Riot were charged with «hooliganism» and sent to prison for two years!
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