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See more synonyms for gunk on Thesaurus.com
noun Informal.
  1. any sticky or greasy residue or accumulation: gunk on the oil filter.
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Origin of gunk

An Americanism dating back to 1932; originally a trademark name for a degreasing solvent
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for gunk

quagmire, goo, silt, slime, muck, sludge, gunk, waste, debris, trash, powder, mud, mucus, grease, sediment, residue, grit, smoke, ash, dirt

Examples from the Web for gunk

Historical Examples of gunk

  • Gunk; a 'take in,' a 'sell'; as a verb, to 'take in,' to cheat.

    English As We Speak It in Ireland

    P. W. Joyce

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

  • Penrod uttered one half-hearted "Gunk" as he turned in at his own gate.

    Penrod and Sam

    Booth Tarkington

  • "Gunk" is the poor makeshift that must be employed to indicate it.

    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

British Dictionary definitions for gunk


  1. informal slimy, oily, or filthy matter
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Word Origin for gunk

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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper