1

spunk

play
noun \ˈspəŋk\

Definition of spunk

  1. 1a :  a woody tinder :  punkb :  any of various fungi used to make tinder

  2. 2 :  mettle, pluck

  3. 3 :  spirit, liveliness

Examples of spunk in a Sentence

  1. That little girl has a lot of spunk.

  2. had the spunk to overcome a severe physical disability

Recent Examples of spunk from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of spunk

Scottish Gaelic spong sponge, tinder, from Middle Irish spongc, from Latin spongia sponge


2

spunk

verb

Definition of spunk

dialect

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to show spirit —usually used with up

First Known Use of spunk

1840

Other Dialect Terms


SPUNK Defined for English Language Learners

spunk

play
noun

Definition of spunk for English Language Learners

  • : spirit, courage, and determination


SPUNK Defined for Kids

spunk

play
noun \ˈspəŋk\

Definition of spunk for Students

History for spunk

The English word spunk comes from spong, a word in Scottish Gaelic (the traditional language of northern Scotland) that meant “tinder” or “sponge.” This word, in turn, came from Latin spongia, “sponge.” The English word at first meant “tinder,” which is a spongy material that catches fire easily. Since the human spirit can also be thought of as catching fire, spunk came to mean “spirit.”


Learn More about spunk


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to plunder or ravage

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time-traveler-quiz-which-word-came-first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!