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wonky

[wong-kee]
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adjective, won·ki·er, won·ki·est.
  1. British Slang.
    1. shaky, groggy, or unsteady.
    2. unreliable; not trustworthy.
  2. 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)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.

    Makers</p>

    Cory Doctorow


British Dictionary definitions for wonky

wonky

adjective -kier or -kiest British informal
  1. shaky or unsteady
  2. not in correct alignment; askew
  3. 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

Word Origin and History for wonky

adj.

"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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