Skip to main content
Select Source:

gang

gang, group of people organized for a common purpose, often criminal. Gangs of criminals were long known on the American frontier and also flourished in urban settings. Notorious were the outlaws led by Jesse James and his brother, the Sydney Ducks of San Francisco (active in the 1850s), and the Hudson Dusters of turn-of-the-century New York City. Modern criminal gangs are largely urban and highly organized (see organized crime). Adolescent gangs before World War II were generally poverty-area recreational groups that turned to crime under the influence of adult gangs. Often the groups were rehabilitated through recreational leadership and guidance in community centers. In the late 1940s fighting gangs arose in the poverty areas of most large cities. Uniting to seek security and status in a discouraging environment, the young members divide their neighborhoods into rival territories and amass homemade and stolen weapons. Boundary violations or other insults invite intergang fights in streets or parks. Most fighting gangs are organized intricately, with caste systems and with officers who arrange battles and prepare strategy; the gang may range in size from several members to over 100. Factors related to the development of delinquent gangs include blighted communities, dropping out of school, unemployment, family disorganization, neighborhood traditions of gang delinquency, psychopathology, and ethnic status. Gangs provide acceptance and protection to inner-city youth; in Los Angeles gangs doubled from 400 in 1985 to 800 (with 90,000 members) in 1990. See also juvenile delinquency.

See L. Yablonsky, The Violent Gang (1962, repr. 1970); M. W. Klein and B. G. Myerhoff, Juvenile Gangs in Context (1967); J. F. Short, ed., Gang Delinquency and Delinquent Subcultures (1968); E. Liebow, Talley's Corner (1968); J. Haskins, Street Gangs: Yesterday and Today (1977); W. F. Whyte, Streetcorner Society (1981); A. Campbell, Girls in the Gang (1984); E. Dolan, Youth Gangs (1984); L. Bing, Do or Die (1991).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"gang." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"gang." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gang

"gang." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gang

gang

gang1 / gang/ • n. 1. an organized group of criminals. ∎  a group of young people involved in petty crime or violence. ∎ inf. a group of people, esp. young people, who regularly associate together. ∎  an organized group of people doing manual work: ninety days of hard labor on the road gang. 2. a set of switches, sockets, or other electrical or mechanical devices grouped together. • v. 1. [intr.] (gang together) (of a number of people) form a group or gang: the smaller supermarket chains are ganging together to beat the big boys. ∎  (gang up) (of a number of people) join together, typically in order to intimidate someone: he is being unfairly ganged up on. 2. [tr.] (often be ganged) arrange (electrical devices or machines) together to work in coordination. gang2 • v. [intr.] Scot. go; proceed: gang to your bed, lass. PHRASAL VERBS: gang agley (of a plan) go wrong.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"gang." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"gang." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gang-0

"gang." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gang-0

Gang

Gang

a full set of things; a quantity or amount carried at one time; a group of persons doing the same work; a group of people or things connected to one another. See also company, set, team.

Examples: gang of ale, 1590; of beer, 1590; of buffaloes, 1807; of captives, 1883; of cartwheels [set of four]; a chain gang; of chronographers, 1677; of clerks, 1668; of convicts; of coopers, 1863; of criminals, 1883; of dogs, 1740; of elk; of heretics, 1848; of light harrows [set], 1806; of horseshoes [set], 1590; of housebreakers, 1701; of labourers; of milk, 1827; of oars, 1726; of peat [amount brought by ponies on one trip], 1808; of ploughs, 1874; of porters, 1700; of ruffians; of saws [set], 1883; of shrouds [suit of sails], 1690; of slaves, 1790; of teeth, 1674; of thieves, 1782; of varlets, 1632; of water, 1858; of women [of silly women], 1645; of workmen.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Gang." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gang." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gang

"Gang." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. . Retrieved August 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gang

gang

gang
A. †going, journey XII; (dial.) way, road XV;

B. (dial.) set of articles of one kind XIV; band of persons XVII. — ON. gangr m. and ganga fem., walking, motion, course = OE., OS., OHG. (Du., G.) gang, Goth. gaggs; Gmc. noun of action to *ʒaηʒan go (cf. GO).
Hence gangster member of a criminal gang. XIX (orig. U.S.).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"gang." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"gang." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gang-1

"gang." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gang-1

gang

gangbang, Battambang, bhang, clang, Da Nang, dang, fang, gang, hang, harangue, kiang, Kuomintang, Kweiyang, Laing, Luang Prabang, meringue, Nanchang, Pahang, pang, parang, Penang, prang, Pyongyang, rang, sang, satang, Shang, shebang, Shenyang, slambang, slang, spang, sprang, Sturm und Drang, tang, thang, trepang, twang, vang, whang, Xizang, yang, Zaozhuang •Xinjiang, Zhanjiang, Zhenjiang •Palembang • whiz-bang • charabanc •pressgang • chaingang • Wolfgang •strap-hang • ylang-ylang • boomslang •Semarang • boomerang • linsang •Sittang • mustang

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"gang." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"gang." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gang

"gang." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gang