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[wongk] /wɒŋk/
noun, Slang.
a student who spends much time studying and has little or no social life; grind.
a stupid, boring, or unattractive person.
a person who studies a subject or issue in an excessively assiduous and thorough manner:
a policy wonk.
1960-65, Americanism; of expressive orig.; nautical slang wonk “a midshipman,” Australian slang: “white person, homosexual” are probably independent formations
Related forms
wonkish, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for wonk
  • Translated from the wonk, that means no more intercontinental ballistic missiles.
  • But it's the world-wide network of volunteer field agents that's turned this service into a weather wonk favorite.
  • Tom is a witty wonk who has made policymaking as enjoyable as his friendship.
  • There's often talk in this city about a policy-wonk mentality.
British Dictionary definitions for wonk


(informal) a person who is obsessively interested in a specified subject: a foreign policy wonk
Word Origin
C20: of uncertain origin
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 wonk

"overly studious person," 1954, American English student slang, popularized 1993 during Clinton administration in U.S.; perhaps a shortening of British slang wonky "shaky, unreliable." Or perhaps a variant of British slang wanker "masturbator." It was earlier British naval slang for "midshipman" (1929).

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


Related Terms

nine-days' wonder, ninety-day wonder

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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