Translations to English

WORDS AND THEIR WORKINGS

Today’s Word: Hooligan

English has lots of words for troublemakers, often changing depending on the region of the UK the speaker hails from.

For example: ruffian, thug, hoodlum, lout… The list is endless. Each word not only has its own sub-meanings but also often suggests something about which region of the UK the speaker comes from. But if you’re called a hooligan, the origin is less clear. According to the Oxford English Etymology Dictionary, the name originates from the surname of a raucous Irish family – Houlihan – mentioned in an old song from the 1890s.

Another theory is that during the 1745 Jacobite rising, an English commander misheard the Scots Gaelic word for midges, those irritating little flies you get in Scotland – and I remember them from my childhood climbing on hay bales and coming home covered in very very itchy bites! The word was “meanbh-chuileag”. The theory is that he misheard that and created the word “hooligan” to describe those midges. Later, it came to be used for anything or anyone that was as irritating as the midges!

There are quite a lot of references to “hooligans”, one way or the other, in Irish history.

Check out this one – a regular story in that particular periodical, apparently.

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Stay tuned for our next blog post coming next week!

Rachel

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