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See also: Bork and börk



Robert Bork, a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and legal scholar, whose last name gave rise to the word

Etymology 1[edit]

A reference to the unsuccessful 1987 United States Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork (1927–2012);[1] first appeared in print that same year.


bork (third-person singular simple present borks, present participle borking, simple past and past participle borked)

  1. (transitive, intransitive, US politics, often derogatory) To defeat a person's appointment or election, judicial nomination, etc., through a concerted attack on the person's character, background, and philosophy. [from 1987]
    • [1987 December 10, Kenneth H. Taylor, “[Voice of the People:] New verb”, in The San Bernardino County Sun, page 11, columns 3–4:
      In light of the current furor over trying to appoint a new Supreme Court justice, I would like to submit a new verb in the English language. Three forms would be "to bork," "borking," and "borked." This would describe the act of partisan political character assassination.]
    • 1988 November 30, William McCarthy, “Democrats ‘borked’”, in Chicago Tribune[2], archived from the original on 19 October 2017, page 20:
      George [H. W.] Bush will almost certainly have an opportunity to nominate one or more justices. It would be a pity for all of us if they are subjected to the treatment accorded Robert Bork. Honest disagreement is one thing; "borking" is something else.
    • 1995, Lani Guinier, The Tyranny of the Majority: Fundamental Fairness in Representative Democracy, New York, N.Y.: Free Press, →ISBN, page xix:
      In other words, I am intentionally borking the headline writer, for no other reason than to make my point with greater force.
    • 2002 February 7, Orrin G[rant] Hatch, “Statement of the Honorable Orrin Hatch, United States Senator, Utah [The Nomination of Charles W. Pickering to be United States Circuit Court Judge for the Fifth Circuit]”, in United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary[3], archived from the original on 21 September 2008:
      After an eight-year hiatus, these groups are back on the scene, ready to implement an apparent vicious strategy of Borking any judicial nominee who happens to disagree with their view of how the world should be.
    • 2004, Joseph Michael Green, “Media Activity”, in Your Past and the Press!: Controversial Presidential Appointments: A Study Focusing on the Impact of Interest Groups and Media Activity on the Appointment Process, Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, →ISBN, page 131:
      [Stephen L.] Carter believes that liberals seem to think that only conservatives "bork" and likewise conservatives seem to believe that only liberals "bork," but the unhappy truth is that everybody "borks".
    • 2005, Mark [Victor] Tushnet, “A Supreme Court United?”, in A Court Divided: The Rehnquist Court and the Future of Constitutional Law, New York, N.Y.: W. W. Norton & Company, →ISBN, page 340:
      Forcing their adversaries to bork nominees may, they may think, lead voters in the middle to think less well of liberals, enhancing the distaste for Washington politics that has helped conservatives gain political power.
    • 2006 October 30, Jeffrey Lord, “Borking Rush”, in American Spectator[4], archived from the original on 17 October 2017:
      Above all it discusses the best tactics to defeat a borking. Having been in the [Ronald] Reagan White House when Robert Bork was borked, I knew something about the subject, which was a huge help when the same borking guns were turned on my friend Judge [D. Brooks] Smith years later.
    • 2008, William Safire, “bork”, in Safire’s Political Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 75:
      The verb first appeared in print in 1988, enclosed in quotation marks, as in the Chicago Tribune of November 20, 1988: “Honest disagreement is one thing; ‘borking’ is something else.” In February 1989, Republican Senator Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming commented on CBS This Morning: “I feel strongly that he [Senator John Tower] is being borked. … The charges that have been leveled at him have all proved groundless, baseless.”
Alternative forms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Possibly derived from borken, an intentional misspelling of the word broken used in ironic or humorous contexts; or from the usage described under “Etymology 1” above.


bork (third-person singular simple present borks, present participle borking, simple past borked, past participle borked or borken)

  1. (transitive, slang) To misconfigure, break, or damage, especially a computer or other complex device.
    • 2001–2006, Oskar Andreasson, “Commercial Products Based on Linux, iptables and netfilter”, in Iptables Tutorial 1.2.2[5], [s.l.]: Oskar Andreasson, archived from the original on 10 January 2017, page 327:
      The first time I tried the test machine that I got, I borked the configuration pretty badly (I.e., I inverted the interfaces among other things).
    • 2014 January, Naomi Kramer, Yesterday’s Cat: Episode 1: Before the Storm, [Los Gatos, Calif.]: Smashwords, →ISBN:
      Angie sat back and stared at the screen. Well, that screwed her up good and proper. Go to the brass with information that might put her in the slam … or go it solo and risk borking up the situation even worse than it was already.
    • 2017, Martha Wells, chapter 1, in All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries), New York, N.Y.: Tom Doherty Associates, →ISBN:
      Even if I hadn't borked my own governor module, the emergency feed took priority, and it was chaotic, too, with the automated HubSystem wanting data and trying to send me data I didn't need yet and Mensah sending me telemetry from the hopper.
    • 2017 October 18, Chris Merriman, “Microsoft’s Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is Borking Razer Machines: Oh Microsoft … Not Again …”, in The Inquirer[6], archived from the original on 19 October 2017:
      Microsoft's Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is Borking Razer Machines [title] [] As we pondered the question earlier today "we wonder if the Fall Creators Update of Windows 10 will bork anyone's machine", we had a feeling it wouldn't take long to find out. Razer, the high-end gaming manufacturer which is about to enter the gaming phone market, is finding that its products are being hit by the curse of Windows update.
  2. (intransitive, slang) To become broken or damaged, especially of a computer or other complex device.
    • 2014, Woody Leonhard, “Maintaining Your System”, in Windows 8.1 All-in-One for Dummies (For Dummies), Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN:
      Sometimes Windows system files get messed up (the technical term is "borked"). In those cases, Microsoft has a program called Refresh that scans and fixes all the system files, without changing your settings, removing any installed programs, or blasting your data.
    • 2017 September 22, Chris Merriman, “Microsoft is Looking at Opening a London Flagship Store at Oxford Circus: It’s so Close to the Apple Store, You’ll be Able to Piggyback the WiFi”, in The Inquirer[7], archived from the original on 22 September 2017:
      The building is currently occupied by Benetton, but we could be about to see the beautiful range of multi-ethnic models in overpriced clothes replaced by models that get borked with every upgrade … oh, and are also overpriced.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From the species name of Pagothenia borchgrevinki.


bork (plural borks)

  1. (informal) The bald notothen or bald rockcod (Pagothenia borchgrevinki), a species of cod icefish (Nototheniidae) native to the Southern Ocean.
    • 2004, Terre M. Williams, The Hunter’s Breath: On Expedition with the Weddell Seals of the Antarctic, New York, N.Y.: M. Evans and Company, →ISBN, page 199:
      Near the water surface, Mayflower hunted for larger prey in the form of "borks." Pagothenia borchgrevinki "bork," for short—are buggy-eyed, dark-spotted fish with a Mohawk ridge of fins along the top. They live among the ice crystals formed by the platelet ice, hiding just below the frozen surface of the sea in -3°C (27°F) water.
    • 2012, James McClintock, “Life Adrift: The Small Organisms Matter”, in Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land, New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan, →ISBN:
      On entering the Aquarium Building, I bumped into John Janssen, a biologist studying the behavior and physiology of Antarctic fish, and now a professor of biology at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. John stood near a large circular seawater tank containing a school of "borks" (Pagothenia borchgrevinki), silvery, foot-long, trout-shaped Antarctic fish that feed on plankton. The majority of Antarctic fish live on the seafloor, but borks live in the water column, hiding from sea predators in the cracks and crevices of the sea ice.

Etymology 4[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:

Mutation of bark.


bork (plural borks)

  1. (Internet slang, humorous) The sound a dog makes.
    • 2016 September 6, Elena Cresci, “Cats v dogs: which animal owns the internet?”, in The Guardian[8]:
      Dogs become “doggo”, “floofs” and “puppers” and they “bork” rather than bark.
    • 2016 December 8, Jay Hathaway, “The very longevity of Doge, the Shiba Inu meme that is still such popular”, in The Daily Dot[9]:
      And now, a Doge can bork — Tumblr doggo slang for barking or being aggressive.
    • 2017 October 19, Rachel Henry, “Heckin’ bamboozled”, in The Daily Californian[10]:
      Understanding doggo memes requires a previous knowledge of doggo meme jargon, including words such as bamboozled (a word that basically signifies confusion in any context) and bork (for a dog’s bark).

Etymology 5[edit]

Perhaps from a blend of boink +‎ pork.


bork (third-person singular simple present borks, present participle borking, simple past and past participle borked)

  1. (vulgar, slang) To boink.
    • 1994, The Book Review, volume 18-19, page 34:
      It was Oscar Wilde who remarked on the phenomenon of Life imitating Art . What with the tabloid Press, and Princess Di borking her riding instructor in a high-life, contemporary update of Lady Chatterley's Lover, we may soon not need fiction []


  1. ^ Arthur Higbee (13 January 1993), “American topics”, in International Herald Tribune[1], archived from the original on 26 October 2005.

Norwegian Nynorsk[edit]

bork (exterior covering of a tree)


From Old Norse bǫrkr.


bork m (definite singular borken, uncountable)

  1. bark (exterior covering of a tree)
    Borken til treet hadde falle av.
    The bark of the tree had fallen off.
  2. cortex (outer layer of an internal organ or body structure)