clunk·​er ˈkləŋ-kər How to pronounce clunker (audio)
: an old or badly working piece of machinery
especially : a dilapidated automobile
: someone or something notably unsuccessful
told a joke that was a real clunker

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The film’s dialectic qualities can feel a little forced and wooden, though Ritch mitigates this somewhat by directing his cast to deliver their lines at such a snappy clip that viewers don’t have time to dwell on the clunkers. Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times, 2 May 2023 As much as Rodgers could drop your jaw by rolling right and launching left for a 50-yard dime, those recent playoff clunkers and inability to spark his team to greater heights while holding the No. 1 seed certainly undermined his Packers legacy. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, 24 Apr. 2023 Now, visitors to Berlin can book a joyride in a Trabant, a discontinued clunker car, and purchase refrigerator magnets in the shape of the Ampelmann, a pedestrian in a broad-brimmed hat who still appears on traffic lights there. Evan Moffitt, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2023 Yesterday was a clunker. Washington Post, 3 Nov. 2021 The run ended with a clunker. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, 10 Aug. 2021 The Saints are not immune to a clunker. Luke Johnson,, 13 Dec. 2020 Starting in San Francisco, one company lets pedestrians hail a car using their iPhone or Android phone (or any old text-messaging clunker), providing a more expensive, yet faster alternative to cabs. Patrick Morgan, Discover Magazine, 5 Apr. 2011 There was barely a clunker on the tour. Gary Graff, cleveland, 1 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'clunker.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1930, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of clunker was in 1930

Dictionary Entries Near clunker

Cite this Entry

“Clunker.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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