gook

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See also: Göök

English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

The word was used by U.S. Marines in the early 20th century;[1][2] the earliest written example is dated 1920.[3]

Folk etymology suggests that during the Korean War, young Korean children would point at U.S. soldiers and shout in Korean 美國 (Miguk, America). Soldiers heard the word as “me gook”, as if the children were defining themselves as “gooks”. The soldiers proceeded to use that term to refer to the Koreans. The word (, guk) itself simply means “country”. This explanation ignores the fact that there are many examples of the word's use that pre-date the Korean War.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ɡuːk/;[1] IPA(key): /ɡʊk/ (less common)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːk, -ʊk

Noun[edit]

gook (plural gooks)

  1. (slang, vulgar, derogatory, offensive, ethnic slur) A person of Far Eastern descent, especially a Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese or Korean person.
    1. (US, derogatory) A Vietnamese insurgent in the Vietnam War, particularly a member of the Viet Cong.
      • 1979, Gustav Hasford, The Short-Timers, New York: Bantam Books, published 1980, →ISBN, page 57:
        Of course, I've got so many confirmed kills I lost count. Nobody believes me because the gooks drag off their dead.
  2. (dated) A foreigner, especially an enemy soldier in wartime.
    1. (Rhodesia, derogatory) A black insurgent in the Rhodesian Bush War.
      • 1997, Dick Gledhill, One Commando: Rhodesia's Last Years & the Guerilla War it Never Lost, p. 55:
        "But shit, man, don't we do a fucking good job of it. Jesus, we slew long gooks this last trip," quipped Mark.
Usage notes[edit]
  • In the US, gook refers especially to a Vietnamese person in the context of the Vietnam War, and particularly to the Viet Cong. It is generally considered to be highly offensive, on par with nigger.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Possible blend of goop +‎ gunk, or related to gobbledygook.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

gook (plural gooks)

  1. (informal) Grime or mud.
    • 1983, Len O'Connor, A Reporter in Sweet Chicago[1], →ISBN, page 351:
      "Roost No More" was a yellow gook that Joe's people would spread around, for a fee, on the ledges of houses and commercial buildings plagued by pigeons.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Noun[edit]

gook (plural gooks)

  1. (slang) A dull or hapless person.
    • 1949, P.G. Wodehouse, The Mating Season:
      the poor old gook was spitting blood

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 gook” in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–present.
  2. ^ Pearson, Kim, “Gook”.
  3. ^ Seligman, Herbert J., “The Conquest of Haiti”, in The Nation, July 10, 1920.