Is there such a word?

To be used when speaking of the "tough girl" or the tomboy your parents don't want you to be involved with. The troublemaker in girl form.

Best I've come up with so far is Ruffian but I'm wondering if there's anything else that fits.


  • 1
    You might consider "ringleaders" . I'm not sure any of these are really sexed but the behaviors associated with the words lend themselves to association with (stereotypical?) traits one sex or another is prone to demonstrate. Female bullies are often disparaged as being "collusive" and "manipulative" more than violent or vandalous.
    – Tom22
    May 9, 2017 at 5:44
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    I think "bad girl" comes fairly close, but for some it's a badge of honour. On the other hand, troublemaker is used for both sexes, and a sufficiently derogatory term. I'd use that one.
    – Mari-Lou A
    May 9, 2017 at 6:35
  • 1
    Might ["ladette]"(dictionary.com/browse/ladette) work? > (informal) a young woman whose social behaviour is similar to that of male adolescents or young men
    – AndyT
    May 9, 2017 at 9:05
  • 2
    Why not just stick with hooligan? A preponderance of dictionary definitions seem to admit of a hooligan's being female, and Collins Spanish Dictionary even explicitly offers "gamberro/a m/f" as the Spanish equivalent. The notion that separate male and female terms are required for a single sort of deviancy would seem to derive from an assumption that it deviates in markedly different directions from male and female gender norms and expectations--and that assumption seems both sexist and dated. May 9, 2017 at 13:40
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    I agree that hooligan is gender-neutral, but if you want to stress that you have a female specimen of the species you could try hooligal.
    – 1006a
    May 9, 2017 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


Just to be plain, and setting aside modern uses for the moment, the original 'hooligans' were boys:

hooligan 1894

London Daily News, 24 April 1894 (paywalled).

This and numerous other similar references in the intervening years antedate OED's earliest, July 1898, attestation of the term in the sense of "A young street rough, a member of a street gang." However, by August of 1898, the 'hooligan girl' appears on the scene, with a vengeance:

hooligan 1898-3

Yorkshire Evening Press, 26 August 1898 (paywalled).

As remarked in the clipping, no one sex has a monopoly on hooliganism. That circumstance prevails to this day.

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