One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A stupid, clumsy, or uncouth person.‘these bearded, stumbling palookas in their peasants' breeches’
lout, boor, barbarian, neanderthal, churl, clown, gawk, hulk, bumpkin, yokelView synonyms
- ‘Should the two palookas with the hardware be in cahoots or feeling underpaid, they would have loved to learn of the $11,000 in traveller's checks, $1, 000 camera, credit card, and Canadian passport I was packing.’
- ‘The other type of palooka is more difficult to recognize, but more valuable - the stooge.’
- ‘Maybe it's the only reason Neo's been hanging out with an old palooka like me.’
- ‘They get called all kinds of names: tomato can, palooka, trial horse.’
- ‘Unless they're all palookas from the South Side, the writers come from leafy suburbs; and that loading zone behind the shopping center is not an alley.’
- ‘The 20-something Reeve who shot to fame in the first Superman movie was an attractive man - much handsomer than the block-jawed palooka of the original comic books.’
- ‘And frankly, a palooka Rollins is: covered head to toe with tattoos and belching metallic tales of power run amok and self-sufficiency.’
- 1.1dated An inferior or average prizefighter.‘he was just another palooka trying to muscle in on the fight racket’
- ‘Relegated to fighting palookas in tiny towns, he was asked to tape a 10-second promotion for a local TV station in Florida.’
- ‘One boxer has plenty of pop, can hit bad pitches, and is a fun at-bat, while the other is your average palooka with a wood stick.’
- ‘Tyson was the palooka in his last fight, knocked out by Danny Williams in the fourth round last July 30.’
- ‘It's not that Buchanan doesn't make any good points; in any melee, any palooka with a wild swing is bound to land a punch or two.’
- ‘Like the palooka who pulls himself up off the canvas after each knockdown, the dedicated employee is expected never to waver, no matter what battering he takes.’
- ‘And then there was a big, brawling, pockmarked palooka with tight curly hair and a big gut whose huge, ham-hock hands relentlessly pounded his victims into total, abject submission.’
1920s: of unknown origin (popularized by the comic strip character Joe Palooka, a well-meaning but clumsy prizefighter).
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