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 He's had one clunker, a 2-for-14 on threes, in this run. Star Tribune, 24 Apr. 2021 Here, too, Biden is leaning on his infrastructure proposal to contribute, by expanding tax credits for EV purchases, giving cash-for-clunker style rebates, and building charging stations. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, 22 Apr. 2021 With new car production grinding to a halt during the ongoing chip shortage, that old clunker at the end of the driveway is starting to shine again. Robert Channick,, 6 May 2021 Mandaloun ‘had no physical excuse’ for his Louisiana Derby clunker, according to Cox. John Cherwa Special Contributor, Los Angeles Times, 30 Apr. 2021 The Aztecs did not earn better in a clunker against the Orange. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Mar. 2021 Instead, the Bulls began the second half of the NBA season with a clunker, a 127-105 loss reminiscent of their noncompetitive games to start the season. Jamal Collier,, 12 Mar. 2021 By the end, the Tar Heels were knocking down clinching free throws and denying comeback bids from the ACC’s top team just days after a clunker of a performance in a home loss to Marquette. Aaron Beard,, 28 Feb. 2021 San Diego is a baseball hotbed where the game is played year round, but year after year, the Padres produced one clunker after another. Jay Paris, Forbes, 28 Feb. 2021

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

21 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Clunker.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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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