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thug +‎ -ish



thuggish (comparative more thuggish, superlative most thuggish)

  1. (derogatory) Characterized by thuggery; behaving in a violent or intimidating way; appearing to be violent or intimidating.
    Their thuggish manner made continuing negotiations very difficult.
    • 1969, Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint, New York: Vintage, 1994, “The Jewish Blues,” p. 56,[1]
      We were Jews—and not only were we not inferior to the goyim who beat us at football, but the chances were that because we could not commit our hearts to victory in such a thuggish game, we were superior!
    • 2005, J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Nw York: Scholastic, Chapter 17, pp. 361-362,
      They were a motley collection; a mixture of the weak seeking protection, the ambitious seeking some shared glory, and the thuggish gravitating toward a leader who could show them more refined forms of cruelty.
  2. (obsolete) Resembling or characteristic of the assassins known as thugs or Thuggees (often capitalized in this sense).
    • 1840, Nathan S. S. Beman, The Gospel Adapted to the Wants of the World: A Sermon, preached in Providence, R. I., Sept. 9, 1840, Boston: Crocker and Brewster, p. 36,[2]
      [] beside the deceitfulness of the heart and the carnality common to all men, the deep ignorance of the heathen, the abjectness of their social condition, their vain but venerated traditions, their time-honored customs of profligacy, impelling to infanticide, parricide, Thuggish murders, and cannibalism—all conflict steadily with the holiest efforts to transform them into symmetrical Christians.
    • 1859, anonymous, Brook Farm: The Amusing and Memorable of American Country Life, London: MacIntosh and Hunt, p. 113,[3]
      Occasionally you might have beheld us chasing up scores of Dorkings,—which had been our admiration for the twelvemonth, and massacreing them remorselessly for the public good: our turkeys and geese, too, were in continual jeopardy of their lives. But,—these Thuggish propensities notwithstanding, we took a paternal interest in our feathered family.
    • 1871, Alfred Austin, The Golden Age: A Satire, London: Chapman and Hall, p. 70,[4]
      There are not wanting in this Christian land
      The breast remorseless and the Thuggish hand,

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