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Etymology 1[edit]

From English dialectal wanky, alteration of Middle English wankel (unstable, shaky), from Old English wancol (unstable), from Proto-West Germanic *wankul (swaying, shaky, unstable).


wonky (comparative wonkier, superlative wonkiest)

  1. Lopsided, misaligned or off-centre.
    Synonyms: awry, misaligned, skew-whiff
  2. (chiefly Britain, Australia, New Zealand) Feeble, shaky or rickety.
    Synonym: rickety
    • 1932, Frank Richards, The Magnet: The Terror of the Form:
      It seemed likely that he would need First Aid when those wonky steps yielded, at length, to the well-known law of gravitation.
  3. (informal, computing, especially Usenet) Suffering from intermittent bugs.
    Synonyms: buggy, broken
  4. (informal) Generally incorrect.
Derived terms[edit]


wonky (uncountable)

  1. (music) A subgenre of electronic music employing unstable rhythms, complex time signatures, and mid-range synths.
    • 2015, Jan Kyrre Berg O. Friis, Robert P. Crease, Technoscience and Postphenomenology: The Manhattan Papers
      By the late 2000s, dubstep had splintered into numerous factions, from brostep to wonky to the evocative “purple,” []

Etymology 2[edit]

wonk +‎ -y


wonky (comparative wonkier, superlative wonkiest)

  1. Technically worded, in the style of jargon.