spunk

[ spuhngk ]
/ spʌŋk /

noun

pluck; spirit; mettle.
touchwood, tinder, or punk.

Nearby words

  1. spun silk,
  2. spun sugar,
  3. spun yarn,
  4. spun-bonding,
  5. spunbonded,
  6. spunkie,
  7. spunky,
  8. spunware,
  9. spur,
  10. spur blight

Origin of spunk

1530–40; blend of spark1 and obsolete funk spark, touchwood (cognate with Dutch vonk, German Funke)

Related formsspunk·less, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spunk


British Dictionary definitions for spunk

spunk

/ (spʌŋk) /

noun

informal courage or spirit
British a slang word for semen
touchwood or tinder, esp originally made from various spongy types of fungus
Australian and NZ informal a person, esp male, who is sexually attractive
Derived Formsspunky, adjectivespunkily, adverb

Word Origin for spunk

C16 (in the sense: a spark): from Scottish Gaelic spong tinder, sponge, from Latin spongia sponge

usage

The second sense of this word was formerly considered to be taboo, and it was labelled as such in previous editions of Collins English Dictionary . However, it has now become acceptable in speech, although some older or more conservative people may object to its use

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 spunk

spunk

n.

1530s, "a spark," Scottish, from Gaelic spong "tinder, pith, sponge," from Latin spongia (see sponge). The sense of "courage, pluck, mettle" is first attested 1773. A similar sense evolution took place in cognate Irish sponnc "sponge, tinder, spark, courage, spunk." Vulgar slang sense of "seminal fluid" is recorded from c.1888.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper