pluck; spirit; mettle.
touchwood, tinder, or punk.

1530–40; blend of spark1 and obsolete funk spark, touchwood (cognate with Dutch vonk, German Funke)

spunkless, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To spunkless
World English Dictionary
spunk (spʌŋk)
1.  informal courage or spirit
2.  (Brit) a slang word for semen
3.  touchwood or tinder, esp originally made from various spongy types of fungus
4.  informal (Austral), (NZ) a person, esp male, who is sexually attractive
[C16 (in the sense: a spark): from Scottish Gaelic spong tinder, sponge, from Latin spongia sponge]
usage  The second sense of this word was formerly considered to be taboo, and it was labelled as such in previous editions of Collins English Dictionary. However, it has now become acceptable in speech, although some older or more conservative people may object to its use

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1536, "a spark," Scottish, from Gaelic spong "tinder, pith, sponge," from L. spongia (see sponge). The sense of "courage, pluck, mettle" is first attested 1773. A similar sense evolution took place in cognate Ir. sponnc "sponge, tinder, spark, courage, spunk." Vulgar slang
sense of "seminal fluid" is recorded from c.1888. Spunky "courageous, spirited" is recorded from 1786.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature