clunk·​er | \ˈkləŋ-kər \

Definition of clunker 

1 : an old or badly working piece of machinery especially : a dilapidated automobile

2 : someone or something notably unsuccessful told a joke that was a real clunker

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Examples of clunker in a Sentence

My first car was an old clunker that kept breaking down. That joke was a real clunker. The director's recent films have all been clunkers.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Between the Chiefs’ inexplicable mid-season clunkers and their stupefying postseason history of follies and futility, no one who follows this franchise could assume a diabolical trap door wasn’t waiting to spring open in the playoffs. Vahe Gregorian, kansascity, "Another early exit: Chiefs find new way to write same old story," 6 Jan. 2018 Who cares that the fare card’s debut was four years late or that the accompanying website was a clunker (and remains less than optimal)? Inga Saffron,, "There's no getting around the clumsy design of SEPTA's new fare gates," 9 May 2018 Even after the aforementioned three-game stretch, there were a couple clunkers to finish the regular season. Albert Breer,, "How a Soldier’s Story Helped Dan Quinn Build the Falcons," 2 July 2018 The Miami Heat lost in the NBA Finals that year in large part because James had an inexplicable clunker of a series, and the basketball world rejoiced in collective LeBronfreude. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "LeBron James Has Another Decision. These Boys and Girls Won’t Be There.," 27 June 2018 There’s no other way to say it: Wednesday night’s loss was a clunker. Scott Lauber,, "With Rhys Hoskins out, not too soon for Phillies to think about trading for a hitter | Extra Innings," 31 May 2018 But there were no fog machine, techno music, and strobe lights in the clubhouse after this clunker. Matt Breen,, "A Carlos Santana error hurts Phillies again | Extra Innings," 23 May 2018 In addition to gems against the Rockies, Dodgers and seven shutout innings against the Pirates, Richards has mixed in three-plus inning clunkers against Baltimore and Milwaukee. Matthew Defranks,, "Preview: Diamondbacks at Marlins, Thursday, 12:10 p.m.," 27 June 2018 Although he's thrown clunkers since, Duffy has never endured such an extended period of futility in his eight-year career. Maria Torres, kansascity, "In loss to Indians, Danny Duffy becomes latest Royals veteran pitcher to allow 9 runs | The Kansas City Star," 13 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clunker.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clunker

1930, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for clunker

Last Updated

24 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for clunker

The first known use of clunker was in 1930

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English Language Learners Definition of clunker

: an old car or machine that does not work well

: something that is a complete failure

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Comments on clunker

What made you want to look up clunker? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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