Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
1. A foolish, clumsy, inept person. Some palooka has been knocking stuff off the shelves as they go by with their shopping cart. Oh, look what you did, you big palooka—you broke it!
2. An unskilled or incompetent professional boxer. That palooka ain't gonna last a minute with me in the ring, let alone twelve rounds!
1. A foolish, clumsy, inept person. Some paluka has been knocking stuff off the shelves as they go by with their shopping cart. Oh, look what you did, you big paluka—you broke it!
2. An unskilled or incompetent professional boxer. That paluka ain't gonna last a minute with me in the ring, let alone twelve rounds!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
palookaand paluka (pəˈlukə)
n. a stupid person; an unskilled prizefighter; any mediocre person. (Also a term of address. From the name of the comic-strip prizefighter Joe Palooka.) Tell that stupid palooka to sit down and shut up.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
A stupid or a clumsy oaf, and by extension, an incompetent prizefighter. Joe Palooka, the heavyweight boxing hero of Ham Fisher's cartoon strip that ran from 1921 to 1984, was anything but inept, but even his skills and the strip's popularity couldn't save the word from its negative meaning. Calling someone a “big palooka,” unless said in a jovial and friendly context, isn't likely to win you any fans and may win you a bloody nose. The word may have been a corruption of “Pollack,” the pejorative term for Polish people.
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price