See more synonyms for wonk on Thesaurus.com
noun Slang.
  1. a student who spends much time studying and has little or no social life; grind.
  2. a stupid, boring, or unattractive person.
  3. a person who studies a subject or issue in an excessively assiduous and thorough manner: a policy wonk.

Origin of wonk

1960–65, Americanism; of expressive orig.; nautical slang wonk “a midshipman,” Australian slang: “white person, homosexual” are probably independent formations
Related formswonk·ish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for wonk

geek, nerd, brain, grub, bookworm, grind, dweeb, poindexter, swotter

Examples from the Web for wonk

Contemporary Examples of wonk

British Dictionary definitions for wonk


  1. informal a person who is obsessively interested in a specified subjecta foreign policy wonk

Word Origin for wonk

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 wonk

"overly studious person," 1954, American English student slang, popularized 1993 during Clinton administration in U.S.; perhaps a shortening of British slang wonky "shaky, unreliable." Or perhaps a variant of British slang wanker "masturbator." It was earlier British naval slang for "midshipman" (1929).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper