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(Historical Terms) (in 18th-century London) one of a group of aristocratic ruffians, who attacked people in the streets at night
[C18: variant of Mohawk1]


(ˈmoʊ hɒk)

one of a group of aristocratic ruffians who attacked people at night on the streets of London in the early 18th century.
[1705–15; variant of Mohawk]
References in classic literature ?
The Bohuns had been Mohocks under Queen Anne and Mashers under Queen Victoria.
Deriving their name from the Mohawk people - a Native American tribe - the Mohocks were allegedly a gang of aristocratic ruffians who terrorised the streets of early 18th century London.
The media have also created fears of youth gangs; for example, the "Mohocks" of London around 1712 were a fiction promoted by the newspapers.
Early modem London was in fact troubled by gangs of aristocratic young men, who adopted such names as Tityre-tus and Mohocks; the roarers of city comedy seem often to be their hapless imitators.
He does not represent any recognizable group of New World savages, some of whom like the Mohocks were brought over and paraded in London as an exhibit in the early years of the eighteenth century--hence the name of the unruly gang of rich young men, the "Mohocks" alluded to in one of Joseph Addison's Spectator papers.
Indeed, the satirist Jonathan Swift reveals in his diaries for 1711 that gangs of young men known as Mohocks were terrorizing the streets of London.
Other contemporaries, including Jonathan Swift and Lord Chesterfield, doubted the existence of the Mohocks at all, believing the whole panic to be some kind of mass hysteria.