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 미국 (Miguk, America). Soldiers heard the word as “mee 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]

Noun[edit]

gook (plural gooks)

  1. (slang, vulgar, pejorative, offensive, ethnic slur) A person of Far Eastern or Oceanian descent, especially a Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese or Korean person.
  2. (dated) A foreigner, especially an enemy soldier in wartime.
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, at par with nigger.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Possible blend of goop +‎ gunk.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

gook (plural gooks)

  1. (informal) Grime or mud.
    • 1983, Len O'Connor, A Reporter in Sweet Chicago[1], ISBN 0809276488, 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]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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