[goo k, gook]
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Origin of gook

expressive word, perhaps blend of goo and muck; cf. guck


noun Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.
  1. a contemptuous term used to refer to a native of Southeast Asia or the South Pacific, especially a member of an enemy military force.
  2. a contemptuous term used to refer to any dark-skinned foreigner, especially a non-European or non-American.
  3. anyone who is offensive to others because of stupidity, coarseness, etc.

Origin of gook

1915–20; of uncertain orig; compare earlier googoo, gugu, as contemptuous term for a Filipino, and perhaps comparable relationship of kook to cuckoo

Usage note

The earliest recorded uses of this term were by U.S. Marines when referring to Haitians and Filipinos. It continued to be common slang in the American military, especially during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for gook


noun US
  1. slang a derogatory word for a person from a Far Eastern country
  2. informal a messy sticky substance; muck

Word Origin for gook

C20: of uncertain 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

Word Origin and History for gook

1899, U.S. military slang for "Filipino" during the insurrection there, probably from a native word, or imitative of the babbling sound of their language to American ears (cf. barbarian). The term goo-goo eyes "soft, seductive eyes" was in vogue c.1900 and may have contributed to this somehow. Extended over time to "Nicaraguan," "any Pacific Islander" (World War II), "Korean" (1950s), "Vietnamese" and "any Asian" (1960s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper