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spunk

Line breaks: spunk
Pronunciation: /spʌŋk
 
/

Definition of spunk in English:

noun

[mass noun] informal
1Courage and determination: she’s got no spunk, or she’d have left him long ago
More example sentences
  • By all accounts, Vivi was the belle of every youthful ball and admired for her courage and spunk.
  • Diane is a likeable character with real spirit and spunk.
  • She had spirit and spunk for sure, he thought, maybe after all she was old enough to be out on the road.
Synonyms
determination, spirit, backbone, strength of character, fortitude, nerve
informal guts, grit
British informal bottle, ballsiness
North American informal cojones, sand, moxie
vulgar slang balls
2British vulgar slang Semen.
3 [count noun] Australian A sexually attractive person.

Origin

mid 16th century (in the sense 'a spark, vestige'): of unknown origin; perhaps a blend of spark1 and obsolete funk 'spark'.

More
  • punk from (late 17th century):

    Long before the days of Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols, all sorts of people found themselves labelled as punks. In the past the word has been used as a term for a prostitute, a male homosexual, and in show business for a youth or young animal. In American English it has been used since the early 20th century as a disparaging word for a person and in particular a young hooligan or petty criminal. In the film Dirty Harry ( 1971) Clint Eastwood says to a crook: ‘I know what you're thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself…You've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?’ Since the 1970s the word has been applied to admirers or players of punk rock, a loud, fast-moving, aggressive form of rock music: the first US mention of punk rock comes in 1971, five years before the first British punk record, ‘New Rose’ by the Damned. The original punk was not a person at all, but, in 17th-century North America, a term for soft crumbly wood that has been attacked by fungus. This was used as tinder as it caught fire easily. Its ultimate origin is not known, although it probably related to spunk (mid 16th century), which originally meant a spark, a fire or tinder, before developing the senses ‘courage and determination’ (late 18th century), and ‘semen’ (late 19th century) which is itself of uncertain origin.

Words that rhyme with spunk

bunk, chunk, clunk, drunk, dunk, flunk, funk, gunk, hunk, junk, Monck, monk, plunk, punk, shrunk, skunk, slunk, stunk, sunk, thunk, trunk

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Word of the day terpsichorean
Pronunciation: ˌtəːpsɪkəˈriːən
adjective
relating to dancing