Definition of gang noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ɡæŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɡæŋ//
    [countable + singular or plural verb] Friends
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  1. 1an organized group of criminals criminal gang members and drug dealers a gang of pickpockets A four-man gang carried out the robbery.
  2. 2a group of young people who spend a lot of time together and often cause trouble or fight against other groups a gang of youths a street gang All the local boys are members of gangs. CulturegangsIn US history gangs were often associated with the Wild West, the western part of the US during the period when people were beginning to move there. People like Jesse James became famous for leading gangs which committed crimes like robbing banks. People involved in organized crime, particularly during the 1920s and 1930s, were called gangsters. The word gang is no longer used to refer to the group known as the Mafia, though members of the Mafia are often involved in gangland killings. Gangs involved in organized criminal activity were less of a problem in Britain, though in the 1960s the Kray twins ran a gang in the East End of London and triads, gangs similar to the Mafia, operate in some Chinese communities in Britain. Criminal gangs involved in human trafficking, bringing people to the UK illegally and making them work for very little pay are an increasing problem.In Britain and the US gang now usually means a street gang, a group of young people in an inner-city area. Gangs have their own parts of the city and keep other gangs out of them. They may show which parts of the city they control by tagging, spraying paint in particular designs on the walls in the area. People who belong to such gangs are called gang members. Crimes commonly associated with street gangs include selling drugs and, in the US, drive-by shootings, when they shoot a member of another gang while driving past, often injuring other people at the same time. In Britain violent crime related to rival gangs, especially stabbing, injuring people with a knife, is increasing. In Britain in the 1960s and 1970s gangs of white skinheads caused fear among ethnic minority groups. In recent years Asian and West Indian gangs have been established in places such as London. Birmingham and Manchester. Many of these gangs were formed originally to defend the local community, but then became involved in criminal activity. There are also football gangs, groups of supporters who attack rival fans at big matches, though this problem has become less serious in recent years.
  3. 3(informal) a group of friends who meet regularly The whole gang will be there. See related entries: Friends
  4. 4an organized group of workers or prisoners doing work together see also chain gang
  5. Word OriginOld English, from Old Norse gangr, ganga ‘gait, course, going’, of Germanic origin; related to Scottish gang ‘go’. The original meaning was ‘going, a journey’, later in Middle English ‘a way’, also ‘set of things or people which go together’.Extra examples A lot of the lads belong to gangs. Fights had ensued between rival gangs of football fans. He forced me to join his gang. Her cousin was killed in a gang fight when he was only 16. Her friends made me feel welcome and treated me as one of the gang. I go out with a gang of friends most Saturdays. The robbery was carried out by an armed gang. We were in the same gang. You probably go with a gang of friends to the same pub most Saturdays. a gang fight between two rival teenage gangs a gang of skinheads a street gang known as the Hooligans a tale of LA gang life He was accused of having links with drug smuggling and criminal gangs. Several gang members have been arrested. The gang leader usually agrees a rate with the site manager. The work was done by convicts working in gangs. There was a whole gang of us who went out together at weekends. We go skiing every year with the same gang. a criminal gang a prison/​work gang
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: gang