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[wong-kee] /ˈwɒŋ ki/
adjective, wonkier, wonkiest.
British Slang.
  1. shaky, groggy, or unsteady.
  2. unreliable; not trustworthy.
Slang. stupid; boring; unattractive.
Origin of wonky
1920-25; perhaps variant of dial. wanky, equivalent to wank(le) (Middle English wankel, Old English wancol; see wench) + -y1; def. 1 probably represents a different word (see wonk) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for wonky
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He straightened his back more, making it pop and gave her his devilish grin, the one where his wonky eyebrow went up and down.


    Cory Doctorow
British Dictionary definitions for wonky


adjective (Brit, informal) -kier, -kiest
shaky or unsteady
not in correct alignment; askew
liable to break down or develop a fault
Word Origin
C20: variant of dialect wanky, from Old English wancol
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 wonky

"shaky, groggy, unstable," 1919, of unknown origin. Cf. German prefix wankel-, which has a similar sense. Or perhaps from surviving dialectal words based on Old English wancol "shaky, tottering" (see wench).

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

wonky 1


  1. Badly done or made; ineffective; weird; cockeyed: the wonky clutter of a Victorian parlor/ Only the steering feels wonky to me (1923+)
  2. Out of order; needing repair; down (1990s+ Computer)

[fr British dialect wanky or wankle, ''weak, unsteady''; perhaps related to wanky, ''spurious, doubtful,'' said of coins and attested by 1913]

wonky 2


Tedious and serious, esp anxious and over-studious in an academic situation: ''Jenny Cavilleri,'' answered Ray. ''Wonky music type''/ a class which I have long dismissed as hopelessly wonky

[1970s+ Students; fr wonk]

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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