9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[juhngk] /dʒʌŋk/
any old or discarded material, as metal, paper, or rags.
anything that is regarded as worthless, meaningless, or contemptible; trash.
old cable or cordage used when untwisted for making gaskets, swabs, oakum, etc.
Nautical Slang. salt junk.
Baseball Slang. relatively slow, unorthodox pitches that are deceptive to the batter in movement or pace, as knuckleballs or forkballs.
verb (used with object)
to cast aside as junk; discard as no longer of use; scrap.
cheap, worthless, unwanted, or trashy.
Origin of junk1
1480-90; earlier jonke, of uncertain origin
1, 2. rubbish, litter, debris, refuse.


[juhngk] /dʒʌŋk/
a seagoing ship with a traditional Chinese design and used primarily in Chinese waters, having square sails spread by battens, a high stern, and usually a flat bottom.
1545-55; < Portuguese junco a kind of sailing vessel < Malay jong, said to be < dialectal Chinese (Xiamen) chûn; compare Guangdong dial. syùhn, Chinese chuán


[juhngk] /dʒʌŋk/
noun, Slang.
narcotics, especially heroin.
the external genitals:
I kicked him in the junk.
1920-25; perhaps special use of junk1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for junk
  • They found the boards in the wood-closets fine kindling wood, while the pipes and faucets were as good as cash at the junk shop.
  • Recycle your own newspapers, magazine pages, or junk mail as gift wrap.
  • Don't listen to that official junk, the indicator for recession should be more heavily weighted towards unemployment.
  • The food they do get is overprocessed junk, which will in time make them sick.
  • What we're looking for is really nothing more than junk, the remains of a long-lost plane.
  • Most must resort to an iron self-discipline bolstered by a hefty dose of superiority over those who eat junk food.
  • It came hidden among the coupons and other junk mail.
  • But they persevered, and the result is gourmet junk food.
  • It's a watery junk yard, a place where people pay to abandon their old boats.
  • The author speculates, in a playlet, about the problems besetting the owners of kinetic junk-sculpture.
British Dictionary definitions for junk


discarded or secondhand objects, etc, collectively
  1. rubbish generally
  2. nonsense: the play was absolute junk
(slang) any narcotic drug, esp heroin
(transitive) (informal) to discard as junk; scrap
Word Origin
C15 jonke old useless rope


a sailing vessel used in Chinese waters and characterized by a very high poop, flat bottom, and square sails supported by battens
Word Origin
C17: from Portuguese junco, from Javanese jon; related to Dutch jonk
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for junk

"worthless stuff," mid-14c., junke "old cable or rope" (nautical), of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old French junc "rush, reed," also used figuratively as a type of something of little value, from Latin iuncus "rush, reed" (but OED finds "no evidence of connexion"). Nautical use extended to "old refuse from boats and ships" (1842), then to "old or discarded articles of any kind" (1884). Junk food is from 1971; junk art is from 1966; junk mail first attested 1954.

"Chinese sailing ship," 1610s, from Portuguese junco, from Malay jong "ship, large boat" (13c.), probably from Javanese djong.


1803, "to cut off in lumps," from junk (n.1). The meaning "to throw away as trash, to scrap" is from 1908. Related: Junked; junking.

New settlers (who should always be here as early in the spring as possible) begin to cut down the wood where they intend to erect their first house. As the trees are cut the branches are to be lopped off, and the trunks cut into lengths of 12 or 14 feet. This operation they call junking them; if they are not junked before fire is applied, they are much worse to junk afterwards. [letter dated Charlotte Town, Nov. 29, 1820, in "A Series of Letters Descriptive of Prince Edward Island," 1822]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for junk


  1. : junk jewelry/ junk mail
  2. : one of the most dangerous junk neighborhoods in the city
  1. Worthless and shoddy things; useless and inept productions; trash; dreck, shit: Why do you always buy such junk? (1842+)
  2. Tricky serves and lobs; soft, hard-to-reach shots: He is a master of control and of dealing ''junk''/ looping junk, the players' term for soft, short shots (1970s+ Tennis)
  3. junk-ball (1950s+ Baseball)
  4. Narcotics; dope: Canales has a noseful of junk a lot of the time/ Sherlock Holmes. All he does is play a fiddle and take junk (1920s+ Narcotics)
  5. Unspecified heaps and objects; stuff; crap: Men carry more junk in their pockets than women do in their pocketbooks

[fr a British nautical term for old or weak rope or cable, found by 1485]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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