wonk

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

American English student slang 1954; perhaps navy slang before that. Expert sense popularized in the Clinton administration, 1993.

Origin uncertain, possibly from wonky ‎(shaky, unreliable) or wank, wanker [1], or simply expressive.

Noun[edit]

wonk ‎(plural wonks)

  1. (derogatory, informal) An overly studious person, particularly student; a nerd.
    • 2014, Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Pleasures of Reading, The: A Booklover's Alphabet (page 53)
      Previously, e-reading had been the domain of early adopters and new technology wonks.
  2. (by extension, informal) A policy wonk or other intellectual expert.

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