Etymology
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wonk (n.)
"overly studious person," 1962, earlier "effeminate male" (1954), American English student slang. Perhaps a shortening of British slang wonky "shaky, unreliable," or a variant of British slang wanker "masturbator." It seemed to rise into currency as a synonym for nerd late 1980s from Ivy League slang and was widely popularized 1993 during the presidency of Bill Clinton. Tom Wolfe (1988) described it as "an Eastern prep-school term referring to all those who do not have the 'honk' voice, i.e., all who are non-aristocratic."
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wonky (adj.)
"shaky, groggy, unstable," 1919, of unknown origin. German prefix wankel- has a similar sense. Perhaps from surviving dialectal words based on Old English wancol "shaky, tottering" (see wench (n.)).
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