Definition of larrikin in US English:



Australian, NZ
  • 1A boisterous, often badly behaved young man.

    • ‘They are actually painting Joe as a lovable larrikin, when the man actually has an illness.’
    • ‘For one thing, the stewards are less tolerant of larrikins these days.’
    • ‘You know, he's a lad on his own, he's got a few mates here for the Rugby, he's known to be a bit of a larrikin, he's gonna go to a pub somewhere, some village or town.’
    • ‘All of this belies the jocular public persona he presents - the outspoken larrikin with an acerbic wit, strong views, a black sense of humour, a love of food and old American cars, and a loathing of sport.’
    • ‘Some of us decided that we would ourselves try to discourage larrikins, at least those of them who appeared on our own doorsteps.’
    ruffian, troublemaker, lout, thug, hooligan, bully boy, hoodlum, brawler
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person with apparent disregard for convention; a maverick.
      as modifier ‘the larrikin trade union leader’
      • ‘On arrival he was struck by the light, the shock jocks that ruled the Sydney airwaves, and - most bizarre of all in a country that prided itself on a rather larrikin disregard for authority - the overriding obedience to rules.’
      • ‘He had a ferocious appetite back in his single larrikin days and was known to eat pretty much anything including curtains, flowers or anything that was handy.’
      • ‘Telling the story of the label's origins was winemaker Kevin Judd, one of the original larrikin winemakers who was responsible for creating the Cloudy Bay wine style and who continues to be the company's chief winemaker.’
      • ‘It's visually poetic, whimsical and has a larrikin charm.’
      • ‘It's almost with a peculiarly larrikin pride we should wonder that a mere horse race holds our thrall in such complete surrender to its existence.’


Mid 19th century: from English dialect, perhaps from the given name Larry (pet form of Lawrence) + -kin, or from a pronunciation of larking.