: a person preoccupied with arcane details or procedures in a specialized field
broadly : nerd
a policy wonk
a computer wonk
wonkery noun
ˈwäŋ-kish How to pronounce wonk (audio)
wonkishness noun

Examples of wonk in a Sentence

the policy wonks in the government the candidate has an army of policy wonks ready to write for him a position paper on virtually any issue
Recent Examples on the Web This strange blend of data and debauchery — equal parts Math Olympiad and Burning Man — was the dominant vibe at Manifest, which was held in a converted hotel and populated by a crowd of about 250 tech workers, bloggers, economists, students and assorted wonks. Kevin Roose, New York Times, 8 Oct. 2023 There are data wonks like the Entertainment Strategy Guy and the Czech company FlixPatrol that factor in such rankings to determine whether certain shows registered with audiences. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 19 Sep. 2023 The bipartisan Common Core initiative was led by policy wonks who wanted to make American students more globally competitive, partly in response to George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind legislation, which had created a patchwork of different standards across the states. Emma Green, The New Yorker, 1 Sep. 2023 That’s a view shared by a burgeoning clutch of influential American wonks, who argue that the United States’ mammoth contributions to Ukraine are undermining its ability to prepare Taiwan for a future Chinese invasion. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2023 Message Extraction From the first announcement, the project drew in an army of nerds and puzzle wonks. Shi En Kim, Scientific American, 3 Aug. 2023 On July 13, a group of journalists, policy wonks, and political activists opened a new front in the war for American conservatism. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 22 July 2023 Despite this, the visit drew unprecedented interest—and not just from climate policy wonks but from policymakers and professionals in a range of fields. Justin Worland, Time, 20 July 2023 In May, in breakfast remarks before an audience of political staffers and policy wonks on Capitol Hill, Beatty and Carey described their efforts to meet and talk, in plain view, on the House floor during proceedings. Scott MacFarlane, CBS News, 1 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


origin unknown

First Known Use

1954, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wonk was in 1954

Dictionary Entries Near wonk

Cite this Entry

“Wonk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wonk. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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