wonky

Use this forum to suggest Good Words for Professor Beard.
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scw1217
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wonky

Postby scw1217 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:47 am

This is my new favorite word. But every time I use it, someone repeats it back to me, "Wonky?"

Dictionary.com
won·ky
–adjective, -ki·er, -ki·est.
1. British Slang . a. shaky, groggy, or unsteady. b. unreliable; not trustworthy.
2. Slang . stupid; boring; unattractive.

Origin:
1920–25; perh. var. of dial. wanky, equiv. to wank ( le ) (ME wankel, OE wancol; see wench) + -y1 ; def. 1 prob. represents a different word ( see wonk)

Related Words for : wonky
askew, awry, cockeyed, lopsided, skew-whiff


I particularly like the World English Dictionary's second definition (on that page) as it is more correct to my personal use of it: "not in correct alignment".
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Slava
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Postby Slava » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:39 pm

We Americans also took this, dropped the "y," and made a nerd out of it. As in "policy wonk."
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

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Slava
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Wonky Wonks

Postby Slava » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:47 pm

I thought I'd re-up this suggestion. It's a great word, and one with an interesting history. It's fascinating to think that a word the means shaky and askew could end up meaning, after losing a letter, a deeply and perhaps over-educated expert.

for wonk, etymonline.com wrote:"overly studious person," 1954, Amer.Eng. student slang, popularized 1993 during Clinton administration in U.S.; perhaps a shortening of Brit. slang wonky "shaky, unreliable" (1919), which perhaps is from Ger. wankel- or from from surviving dialectal words based on O.E. wancol "shaky, tottering" (see wench). Or perhaps a variant of Brit. slang wanker "masturbator." It was earlier British naval slang for "midshipman" (1929).
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.


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