1 [puhngk]
any prepared substance, usually in stick form, that will smolder and can be used to light fireworks, fuses, etc.
dry, decayed wood that can be used as tinder.
a spongy substance derived from fungi; amadou; touchwood.

1680–90, Americanism; origin uncertain

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2 [puhngk]
something or someone worthless or unimportant.
a young ruffian; hoodlum.
an inexperienced youth.
a young male partner of a homosexual.
an apprentice, especially in the building trades.
Prison Slang. a boy.
a style or movement characterized by the adoption of aggressively unconventional and often bizarre or shocking clothing, hairstyles, makeup, etc., and the defiance of social norms of behavior, usually associated with punk rock musicians and fans.
a punker.
Archaic. a prostitute.
Informal. poor in quality or condition.
of, pertaining to, or characteristic of punk rock: a punk band.
pertaining to, characteristic of, or adopting punk styles: punk youths; punk hairstyles in various colors.

1590–1600; of obscure origin; the sense development is apparently “prostitute” > “catamite” > “hoodlum”; the adj. “poor in quality” (1896) is unclearly derived and perhaps a distinct word

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
punk1 (pʌŋk)
1.  a.  a youth movement of the late 1970s, characterized by anti-Establishment slogans and outrageous clothes and hairstyles
 b.  an adherent of punk
 c.  short for punk rock
 d.  (as modifier): a punk record
2.  an inferior, rotten, or worthless person or thing
3.  worthless articles collectively
4.  a petty criminal or hoodlum
5.  obsolete a young male homosexual; catamite
6.  obsolete a prostitute
7.  inferior, rotten, or worthless
[C16: via Polari from Spanish pu(n)ta prostitute,pu(n)to male prostitute]

punk2 (pʌŋk)
1.  dried decayed wood that smoulders when ignited: used as tinder
2.  any of various other substances that smoulder when ignited, esp one used to light fireworks
[C18: of uncertain origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1896, "inferior, bad," also "something worthless," earlier "rotten wood used as tinder" (1687), probably from Delaware (Algonquian) ponk, lit. "dust, powder, ashes;" but Gaelic spong "tinder" also has been suggested (cf. spunk "touchwood, tinder," 1582). Meaning "Chinese incense" is from 1870.

"worthless person" (especially a young hoodlum), 1917, probably from punk kid "criminal's apprentice," underworld slang first attested 1904 (with overtones of "catamite"). Ultimately from punk "prostitute, harlot, strumpet," first recorded 1596, of unknown origin. For sense shift from "harlot" to "homosexual,"
cf. gay. By 1923 used generally for "young boy, inexperienced person" (originally in show business, e.g. punk day, circus slang from 1930, "day when children are admitted free"). The verb meaning "to back out of" is from 1920. The "young criminal" sense is no doubt the inspiration in punk rock first attested 1971 (in a Dave Marsh article in "Creem"), popularized 1976.
"If you looked different, people tried to intimidate you all the time. It was the same kind of crap you had to put up with as a hippie, when people started growing long hair. Only now it was the guys with the long hair yelling at you. You think they would have learned something. I had this extreme parrot red hair and I got hassled so much I carried a sign that said 'FUCK YOU ASSHOLE.' I got so tired of yelling it, I would just hold up the sign." [Bobby Startup, Philadelphia punk DJ, "Philadelphia Weekly," Oct. 10, 2001]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

punk definition

A type of rock 'n' roll with loud, energetic music and often harsh lyrics criticizing traditional society and culture. It was named after the punks, an anarchistic youth movement that surfaced in Great Britain in the 1970s.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Madness and others put a punk rock twist on the style.
Over time, big money and street culture embraced the punk method and have
  adopted it as their way of life.
The media often stereotype punk as being violent, drug-fueled and nihilistic.
He was influenced mainly by reggae, jazz and punk rock.
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