clunk·​er | \ ˈkləŋ-kər How to pronounce clunker (audio) \

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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Synonyms for 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 If the fans in attendance needed any more reminders that times have changed, the way the current Spurs bungled the finish of a 113-109 clunker provided plenty. Mike Finger,, "Finger: On Tony Parker’s night, more than an era ends," 12 Nov. 2019 Now a father, the 34-year-old Songz is still a heartthrob, but his latest album was a strange arrangement of sexified clunkers that lacked the verve of his previous records. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Musician Who Wants to Be the ‘King of R&B’," 12 Nov. 2019 Just three days after scoring one of its best nonconference wins in years over Iowa State, Oregon State (2-1) had a clunker of a second half against Oklahoma. oregonlive, "Oregon State can learn from its early-season 77-69 loss to Oklahoma, but Beavers blow a huge opportunity," 13 Nov. 2019 The clunker of an earnings report -- just before the Christmas shopping season kicks into high gear -- threatens to derail what has been a strong year so far for Hasbro. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "Hasbro hit hard by tariffs just before the holidays," 22 Oct. 2019 Back then the measures included subsidies to reduce working hours and a cash for clunkers program to stimulate the ailing car industry. Birgit Jennen,, "German Stimulus Program Not In the Cards, Economy Minister Says," 24 Sep. 2019 With Chubb, Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., this was supposed to be a scoring machine rather than a cranky old clunker on the road. Terry Pluto, cleveland, "Cleveland Browns: Whatever happened to the offense and creative coaching?," 23 Sep. 2019 Some manufacturers are now begging the government to cut taxes on new car purchases or get old gas guzzlers off the road through a cash-for-clunkers program. Vindu Goel, New York Times, "From Underwear to Cars, India’s Economy Is Fraying," 21 Sep. 2019 Tanner Roark and Mike Fiers have been consistent anchors while Brett Anderson and Homer Bailey continue to string together more quality starts than one-off clunkers. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "How Sean Manaea might fit into the Athletics’ packed rotation; Ramon Laureano inches closer to return," 24 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for clunker

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The first known use of clunker was in 1930

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Statistics for clunker

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Clunker.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

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How to pronounce clunker (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of clunker

chiefly US, informal
: an old car or machine that does not work well
: something that is a complete failure

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clunker

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


to state or do over again or repeatedly

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