The only thing that the words thief and thug have in common, aside from their first two letters, is that they suggest the felonious taking of what is not theirs. A thief may steal secretly or slyly—a sneak thief. He might pick a pocket. A thug is a different breed of animal; he is a hoodlum, a ruffian, a violent criminal.
   The word thug is said to have been derived from the Indian cult known as Thuggee, derived from the Sanskrit sthag, meaning "to conceal." But it might have come from the Hindustani word thag, "a cheat." Then again, the British euphemistically called thugs the religious fanatics who were members of an Indian sect called Phansigars (noose operators) from the method employed. They worshiped Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction, and, using scarves, they strangled people, usually wealthy persons, and robbed them. Then, in a ceremony in accordance with the sect's religious belief, they buried their victims and divided the loot among the cult members.
   Lord William Bentnick began the suppression of these terrorists in 1828, when the British hanged 412 of them and sentenced a few thousand to prison. It took more than fifty years to extinguish this blot on human dignity. Their brutality has given us the word thug, which in common parlance means any violent "tough."

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Thug — may refer to: *A person, often a criminal, who treats others violently and roughly, especially for hire * Thug (in this usage written with an uppercase T) (from Hindi ठग ṭhag ), a member of the defunct Indian cult Thuggee *Thug, a gardening term… …   Wikipedia

  • Thug — (engl. „Verbrecher“, „Schläger“) bezeichnet: ein Mitglied der indischen kriminellen Geheimorganisation Thuggee den US amerikanischen Rapper Slim Thug eine Abkürzung in Versalien (THUG) einiger Videospiele der Videospielserie Tony Hawk’s… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • thug — thug; thug·gee; thug·gery; thug·gish; …   English syllables

  • thug — ● thug nom masculin Membre d une confrérie religieuse de l Inde, qui, en l honneur de la déesse Kali, se livrait au meurtre rituel par strangulation (XIIe XIXe s.). thug [tyg] n. m. et adj. ÉTYM. Mil. XIXe (in P. Larousse, 1876); angl. thug, 1810 …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Thug — (th[u^]g; 277), n. [Hind. thag a deceiver, robber.] 1. One of an association of robbers and murderers in India who practiced murder by stealthy approaches, and from religious motives. They have been nearly exterminated by the British government.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Thug —   [tag, englisch θʌg], indische Raubmörderkaste (seit dem 12. Jahrhundert bis etwa 1835). Die Thug verehrten die blutdürstige Göttin Kali …   Universal-Lexikon

  • thug —    (thug) [Hindi: rogue; cheat] A vicious ruffian, thief, or killer. Formerly, one of a confederacy of professional assassins in India who worshipped Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction.    the lads are chased into the outback by immigration… …   Dictionary of foreign words and phrases

  • thug — ► NOUN 1) a violent and uncouth man, especially a criminal. 2) (Thug) a member of a religious organization of robbers and assassins in India, suppressed by the British in the 1830s. DERIVATIVES thuggery noun thuggish adjective. ORIGIN Hindi,… …   English terms dictionary

  • thug — [thug] n. [Hindi ṭhag, swindler < Sans sthaga, a cheat, rogue, akin to sthagayati, (he) hides < IE base * (s)teg , to cover > THATCH] 1. [also T ] a member of a former group in India that murdered and robbed in the service of Kali 2. a… …   English World dictionary

  • thug — index assailant Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • thug — [θʌg] n [Date: 1800 1900; : Hindi; Origin: thag thief , from Sanskrit sthaga bad man ] a violent man ▪ He was beaten up by a gang of young thugs …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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