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[spuhngk] /spʌŋk/
pluck; spirit; mettle.
touchwood, tinder, or punk.
1530-40; blend of spark1 and obsolete funk spark, touchwood (cognate with Dutch vonk, German Funke)
Related forms
spunkless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for spunkless


(informal) courage or spirit
(Brit) a slang word for semen
touchwood or tinder, esp originally made from various spongy types of fungus
(Austral & NZ, informal) a person, esp male, who is sexually attractive
Derived Forms
spunky, adjective
spunkily, adverb
Usage note
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
Word Origin
C16 (in the sense: a spark): from Scottish Gaelic spong tinder, sponge, from Latin spongia sponge
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for spunkless



1530s, "a spark," Scottish, from Gaelic spong "tinder, pith, sponge," from Latin spongia (see sponge). The sense of "courage, pluck, mettle" is first attested 1773. A similar sense evolution took place in cognate Irish sponnc "sponge, tinder, spark, courage, spunk." Vulgar slang sense of "seminal fluid" is recorded from c.1888.

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


  1. Energetic courage; mettle; balls, guts: little girl's got a lot of spunk (1773+)
  2. Semen: rushing with their hot spunk in their hands to the microscope (1888+)

To ejaculate semen; come: the filthy pigs spunking into women (1970s+)

[apparently fr Celtic spong, ''tinder, touchwood, punk,'' fr Latin spongia, ''sponge''; apparently semantically fr a resemblance between semen and a spongy excrescence found on trees, in which sense the word is found in British dialect]

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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