Definition of wonky in US English:

wonky

adjective

informal
  • 1Crooked; off-center; askew.

    ‘you have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth’
    • ‘Now I don't know what is the stranger word, blogging or wonky.’
    • ‘Ed - with his easygoing manner, endless chat and slightly wonky front teeth - is absolutely loveable, but quite obviously can't cook to save his life.’
    • ‘But it is precisely that wonky smile, lugubrious air and bitter chocolate voice that pierces the hearts of the toughest ball-breaking women of my acquaintance.’
    • ‘The most I could manage without cocking things up was a wonky line of cross-stitch.’
    • ‘There are spelling mistakes, the print is wonky, the setting of words completely misinterpreted, and to top it all, a font that I've never in my life used, appears in three random words on the care label.’
    • ‘From the corner of Décarie and Jean-Talon, you can also, for another 10 days, see Cheval Théâtre's wonky Medieval-inspired tents in the distance.’
    • ‘My housemate can't bear her because she ‘has a wonky nose’!’
    • ‘Since I had never mastered the threading of a sewing machine, let alone made an item of clothing, this was taking a risk, but I was soon chalking out patterns and even running up the odd wonky seam without mishap.’
    • ‘Seventy plus males all fighting over the remote control, forgetting your birthday or nailing wonky shelves to the firmament without first reading the instructions?’
    • ‘He chatted in between the songs telling jokes and relating weird stories, he drank beer too, he climbed on the grand piano, he threw flowers into the audience and he fell to his knees more often than a nun with a wonky knee.’
    • ‘I'm 91 next month but I enjoy good health, apart from a wonky heart and two wonky knees.’
    • ‘You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.’
    • ‘Side kicks are tough for me, ‘cause I have wonky hips, but everything else wasn't too bad.’
    • ‘Half-timbered buildings, all pastel-shaded, push out over them, looking terribly wonky - as they've doubtless looked for 700 years.’
    • ‘So now I've a wonky mattress… I SO need a new bed (donations gratefully received LOL)!’
    • ‘To further the debate, or for a cheap gag against a Scouser with a very-slightly wonky gob, who has the temerity to be married to the most powerful man in the country without even ever killing a fox?’
    • ‘My grandma told me (not in these exact words…) that Sean's head was wonky and I should rub his lumpy skull while it was still soft.’
    • ‘That means 46% have such fetid breath and wonky teeth that lonely nights, feverish thoughts and painfully stubborn virginity seem an inevitability.’
    • ‘The names of the tracks were printed on the album sleeve in wonky black type, making them look like classic anonymous ransom demands cobbled together from letters cut out of newspapers.’
    • ‘Dismayed residents of Beach Road, Canvey, reckoned Castle Point Council pulled the plug on the scheme to repair drains and replace wonky footpaths, after running out of money.’
    • ‘I was taking screenshots & putting them in the documentation, but now the engineer has debugging turned on and the pages look all wonky.’
    crooked, off-centre, lopsided, askew, skew
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    1. 1.1 (of a thing) unsteady; shaky.
      ‘they sat drinking, perched on the wonky stools’
      • ‘I, for instance, always choose the one with the wonky wheel and the damp seat, which, as I'm sure my parents would be the first to point out, goes a long to explaining my choice of boyfriends down the years.’
      • ‘If you took a map of Australia and drew a wonky circle around the middle of the country, you'd land in the outback: red dirt, sparely inhabited, the back country.’
      • ‘One pit latrine had a sort of toilet built on top, but it was very wonky.’
      • ‘My wounds were dressed, the burn on my shoulder was dressed, and I was still a bit wonky as we say in the biz, but I was able to say that I had ‘forgotten’ my medicine, which was a lie.’
      • ‘If books play a bigger part in your life than as props for wonky tables, a means of murdering insects or a useful storage space for old receipts, then a literary evening at one of York's more versatile pubs could be right up your alley.’
      • ‘He said: ‘One of the wheels is wonky, the handles are unstable and I was feeling quite worried about it.’’
      • ‘The railings are broken, the steps descending into Terrace Field are now so wonky that they are impassable to some less agile walkers and many of the trees that once crowned the hilltop have died or blown over.’
      • ‘It is dark, with low ceilings, crooked wooden floors, wonky bar stools and an array of nationalist paraphernalia on the walls.’
      • ‘For those of you who don't know, ‘books’ are those hard, flat things made out of paper and cardboard most often used to stabilize wonky table legs.’
      • ‘The big snow finally did in the wonky bracket and the horizontal pipe is currently filled with brackish water and dead leaves, while the vertical one leans against the house.’
      wobbly, unsteady, unstable, shaky, rocky
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    2. 1.2 Not functioning correctly; faulty.
      ‘your sense of judgment is a bit wonky at the moment’
      • ‘The wonky lights have been malfunctioning for so long, and so often, a rumour spread in the area that the equipment was, in fact, secondhand when it was installed.’
      • ‘I try and check viewability of this site using other browsers from time to time (especially if changing something major) but otherwise I won't know if something looks wonky.’
      • ‘In Waters's world, everything is a little wonky and off center.’
      • ‘Please send me an e-mail if you notice anything wonky.’
      • ‘And that falsehood - which Charles Windsor was pointing out in his own inimitable, wonky style - is the cruel fantasy the modern PC elite are using to hoodwink our young folk.’
      • ‘I firmly believe that the BMI dohickey is complete bunk for most people, and since I fully intend to continue working out, my BMI will always be wonky.’
      • ‘The combination of sensuous, sophisticated mark-making and wonky imagery was, as always in Blackwell's work, irresistible.’
      • ‘Another Gawker link and I've had over 1,000 hits today, and right as we're about to possibly maybe finally get all wonky with redesign stuff.’
      • ‘Today, it isn't a problem with the rabbit ears or a loose bit of coax: a bad picture means that the decompression of a digital video stream has gone all wonky.’
      • ‘In those days, his stilted style, forced delivery, and wonky timing were virtues, reinforcing our sense of his hypothetically heartwarming kidness.’
      • ‘Now, unless there's a whole series of brain cells gone wonky in exactly the right place, I seem to remember some old thing about ‘one cuckoo does not a summer make’.’
      • ‘Well, when you're plodding along with your stick and your wonky knees, walking further on hard pavements than you ought, you're entitled to direct some small spite at the drivers who've stolen your space, aren't you?’
      • ‘With several cogs loose in a wonky line-out, it is all the more surprising that Hadden left Scott Lawson on the bench until the 65th minute and ignored the expertise that Ally Kellock has quickly accumulated altogether.’
      • ‘And God knows, starting back at that tender age where you think you'll never, ever be popular, you'll shut up and pretend to be anyone but your wonky self just to be accepted.’
      • ‘And despite the fact that atheists, agnostics and wonky Catholics die no comparable rituals to the Christian rituals of death and burial have emerged as an alternative.’
      • ‘It'll do wonders to motivate the mummers, bring out the wonky wordpeckers who inhabit every nook and cranny, not to mention extend a warm welcome to some very odd-ball strangers.’
      • ‘That means the streetcar line may not have gone this far (and I don't think it did, for reasons too wonky to get into here.)’
      • ‘It would be grossly unfair if the shortstop was awarded an error when it was the second bagger who dropped the ball, yet that is the kind of wonky logic that applies, in many cases, to the interception stat.’
      • ‘I was a little wonky from the weekend, & am not generally the fittest cookie in the box, but it was still disconcerting to be trailing so far behind the ten-year-olds who were having their lessons.’
      • ‘Heretofore my worst disaster was a 3.5 inch disk going wonky and eating a chapter of my dissertation (which sucked anyway) so my number was just up for a hard drive failure.’
      • ‘The E double might have stumbled on a pretty simple coupling of wonky bass and Mr. Gaye, and many of us were appalled at its simplicity, but no one cares now - that song is huge!’
      • ‘Stars, however, are able to plug away with unlimited resources, the objective support of paid yes-men and, for reasons that are sometimes chemically related, a rather wonky perception of their own abilities.’
      • ‘Sure, the band gives off all the necessary signs - token pop act on an avant label, lo-fi production, wonky keyboards - but that doesn't mean you should go for it.’
      • ‘John Logie Baird, television innovator, with lots of pictures of Baird and his wonky machines, including a diagram of the early TV studios at Crystal Palace.’
      • ‘This may have excellent wonky credentials, or it may be one of those silly policy proposals that people only talk about because they can't think of anything that would work.’
      • ‘Upon encountering a woman with pointy bosoms, let's say in the corridor by the wonky coffee machine, it is generally considered bad form if you exclaim ‘Pointy bosoms!’’
      • ‘Plus, I bought a new laptop, for no reason other than the one I have been using is in the area of five years old, has a wonky screen, can't seem to play sound and have a USB device plugged in to it, and weighs a ton.’
      • ‘My guess is that the wonky balance sheets that we associate with corporate failures such as Enron and Worldcom were more widespread (although the illegalities may not have been).’
      • ‘It's all guesswork this week, though, because we don't know who is able to dance like an angel skipping across the clouds, and who can only lurch around like a wonky 1930s robot.’
      • ‘All the hits are here, of course, from the goons of Brixton, with their left-handed garage groove, punky punch and bottomless grab-bag of weird, wonky noises.’
      • ‘The result is an intimate, small-hours vibe that perfectly suits Poe's tales of relationships going wonky, relationships beyond repair and families that have put all that nonsense behind them and just soldier on.’
      • ‘Having wonky analytical arguments may be good for policy (and I hope we will always do this) but politically it's disastrous.’
      • ‘‘Help me,’ I gasped, grabbing at a woman with wonky eyes.’
      • ‘He delivers his rather wonky interpretation of the Bible in the ‘Zacchaeus.’’
      malfunctioning, broken, damaged, defective, not working, not functioning, in disrepair, out of order, out of commission, inoperative, unsound, unusable, useless
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Origin

Early 20th century: fanciful formation.

Pronunciation

wonky

/ˈwäNGkē//ˈwɑŋki/