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[guhngk] /gʌŋk/
noun, Informal.
any sticky or greasy residue or accumulation:
gunk on the oil filter.
Origin of gunk
An Americanism dating back to 1932; originally a trademark name for a degreasing solvent Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gunk
Historical Examples
  • gunk; a 'take in,' a 'sell'; as a verb, to 'take in,' to cheat.

  • Alive or dead, the gunk was the most powerful desiccant I'd ever heard of.

    The Water Eater Win Marks
  • "gunk" is the poor makeshift that must be employed to indicate it.

    Penrod and Sam Booth Tarkington
  • Penrod uttered one half-hearted "gunk" as he turned in at his own gate.

    Penrod and Sam Booth Tarkington
  • I've been fighting this cowlick ever since I've been a kid—stocking caps, gunk, the works.

    The Romantic Analogue W.W. Skupeldyckle
  • "gunk" and "chaw" are the Scots for a bitter and envious disappointment which shows itself in face and eyes.

    The House with the Green Shutters

    George Douglas Brown
  • "Hope that gunk they used to monkey up my complexion doesn't sweat out," he told himself.

    The Best Made Plans Everett B. Cole
British Dictionary definitions for gunk


(informal) slimy, oily, or filthy matter
Word Origin
C20: perhaps of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gunk

1949, "viscous substance," American English, apparently from Gunk, trademark for a thick liquid soap patented 1932 by A.F. Curran Co. of Malden, Mass.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for gunk



  1. Any sticky, viscous liquid, esp hair tonic, cosmetics, lubricants, or cleaning fluids; glop, gook1
  2. Dirt; slime; oily grime; muck: The anchor was clotted in noisome gunk

[1932+; fr a trademark, Gunk, for a degreasing compound, and part of a cluster of nearly synonymous terms beginning with g]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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