- Ernest Weekly, in his Romance of Words (1912), says the original Hooligans were a spirited Irish family of that name whose activities enlivened the drab monotony of life in Southwark, England, about fourteen years earlier. Clarence Rook's memoir, The Hooligan Nights (1899), notes, "There was, but a few years ago, a man called Patrick Hooligan, who walked to and fro among his fellow men, robbing them and occasionally bashing them. ... It is ... certain that he lived in Irish Court, that he was employed as a chucker-out (a bouncer) at various resorts in the neighborhood. Moreover, he could do more than his share of tea-leafing (stealing) . . . being handy with his fingers. . . . Finally, one day he had a difference with a constable, put his light out . . . He was . . . given a lifer. But he had not been in gaol long before he had to go into the hospital, where he died. . . . The man must have had a forceful personality ... a fascination, which elevated him into a type. It was doubtless the combination of skill and strength, a certain exuberance of lawlessness, an utter absence of scruple in his dealings, which marked him out as a leader among men. ... He left a great tradition ... He established a cult." Hooliganism is rowdy behavior. The word became a favorite term to describe misbehavior in some foreign countries, particularly Russia. It is said that a czar, on visiting England, picked up the word and took it back with him duty-free.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.