Why was clemency trending last week?


[wong-kee] /ˈwɒŋ ki/
adjective, wonkier, wonkiest.
British Slang.
  1. shaky, groggy, or unsteady.
  2. unreliable; not trustworthy.
Slang. stupid; boring; unattractive.
Origin of wonky
1920-25; perhaps variant of dial. wanky, equivalent to wank(le) (Middle English wankel, Old English wancol; see wench) + -y1; def. 1 probably represents a different word (see wonk) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for wonky
  • And of course, climatologists will want better evidence than a slightly wonky computer simulation.
  • Its a bit wonky because the projections were different, but you get the idea.
  • If your last experience talking to a computer was some wonky dictation software, you're in for a treat.
  • But he is unique, a moderate who overflows with wonky plans.
  • Getting rid of wonky mitochondria would reduce free-radical production and might thus slow down ageing.
  • Then again, the wonky weather is all the more reason to make this three-day weekend worthwhile.
  • The one book he has written was strictly wonky policy stuff.
  • He could show that he cares about today's economic troubles by throwing out proposal after wonky proposal to fix what ails us.
British Dictionary definitions for wonky


adjective (Brit, informal) -kier, -kiest
shaky or unsteady
not in correct alignment; askew
liable to break down or develop a fault
Word Origin
C20: variant of dialect wanky, from Old English wancol
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for wonky

"shaky, groggy, unstable," 1919, of unknown origin. Cf. German prefix wankel-, which has a similar sense. Or perhaps from surviving dialectal words based on Old English wancol "shaky, tottering" (see wench).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for wonky



In a halting and unsteady way: We commended him on his performance and sent him wonkily tottering back onto the floor (1990s+ College students)



Redolent of policy, theory, discussion, etc: Greenberg felt that a wonkish tone had pervaded the transition (1990s+)

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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for wonky

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for wonky

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for wonky