\ ˈwäŋk , ˈwȯŋk \

Definition of wonk 

: a person preoccupied with arcane details or procedures in a specialized field broadly : nerd a policy wonk a computer wonk

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Other words from wonk

wonkery \ˈwäŋ-kə-rē \ noun
wonkish \ˈwäŋ-kish \ adjective
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

Andrew Wheeler, on the other hand, is a policy wonk who keeps his religious views private and collects Coca-Cola memorabilia. Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, "Shift at EPA shows technocrats are replacing big-personality Cabinet members," 6 July 2018 Liddell doesn’t pretend to be a wonk, however: his specialty is managing the policy work of others. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Maybe Republicans Just Don’t Do Policy," 3 July 2018 For years policy wonks have worried about rising disability rolls. The Economist, "Worker shortages could heal America’s economy," 12 July 2018 Cesar Conda, a former Hill aide and ally of Ryan's, said that he's watched him evolve over the years from staffer to speaker, gaining momentum and skills that the policy wonk didn't possess in the earlier days. Deirdre Walsh, CNN, "Paul Ryan's impact: Big tax bill but no entitlement reforms," 12 Apr. 2018 Ryan, of course, made his national reputation as a wonk-hero, Kevin Kline’s regular-guy accountant turned accidental president in Dave. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Paul Ryan Is the Silent Partner in Trump’s War on the Rule of Law," 25 Jan. 2018 But the policy wonk and Republican thought leader departs without meaningful action on the agenda that led to his rise as a national Republican figure -- reforming entitlement programs and tackling the nation's debt crisis. Deirdre Walsh, CNN, "Paul Ryan's impact: Big tax bill but no entitlement reforms," 12 Apr. 2018 This approach holds a certain appeal for wonks who may hope that today’s problems can be fixed by a set of inspiring TED Talk slides. Samuel Moyn, The New Republic, "Hype for the Best," 19 Mar. 2018 The biggest race in the District this year may be a war of the wonks. Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post, "Challenged from the left, D.C. Council Chairman defends progressive record," 8 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wonk.' 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 wonk

1954, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wonk

origin unknown

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for wonk

The first known use of wonk was in 1954

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English Language Learners Definition of wonk

: a person who knows a lot about the details of a particular field (such as politics) and often talks a lot about that subject

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