\ 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

Synonyms for wonk


bookworm, dink [slang], dork [slang], geek, grind, nerd, swot [British], weenie

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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

The turnaround was orchestrated by a small team of analytics wonks in the front office, led by chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, who was Billy Beane’s... Jon Hartley, WSJ, "Behavioral Economics May Make Champs of the Cleveland Browns," 1 Feb. 2019 Perhaps that label will no longer be applied to a bunch of hapless wonks and economists. David Roberts, Vox, "Climate activists to Nancy Pelosi: go big or we won’t go home," 14 Nov. 2018 For defense wonks, today was bigger than Christmas. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Why You Should Care About America's Next Bomber," 27 Oct. 2015 But there was a small problem: neither Mr. Mactaggart nor Mr. Arney was a privacy expert or policy wonk. New York Times, "Silicon Valley Faces Regulatory Fight on Its Home Turf," 13 May 2018 Facebook could spend even more on policy wonks to shape and prepare for more heavy-handed regulation of tech companies. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How Congress missed another chance to hold big tech accountable," 12 Dec. 2018 Schaller’s research addresses a central worry for policy wonks in the midst of the ride-hailing boom: how to make a trip cheap enough to be fair but expensive enough to shift riders off the streets and into public transit. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "How Much Does It Cost to Unclog NYC's Streets?," 15 Mar. 2018 The unrest also jolted the political ecosystem in Washington, where Iran policy remains a volatile flash point for the capital's wonks. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Iran’s protests reinforce the case for keeping the nuclear deal," 12 Jan. 2018 In the lead-up to the midterm elections, President Donald Trump has gone full policy wonk. Catherine Lucey, The Seattle Times, "Trump pitches policy in final midterm message," 27 Oct. 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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Statistics for wonk

Last Updated

5 Feb 2019

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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

US, informal + sometimes disapproving : 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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irregularly rounded

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