Interesting and Unusual Words: “Twonk”

By Matt Vicker


Anyone ever heard of a twonk before?

This word was first brought to my attention a couple of years whilst watching the cult TV show, Red Dwarf. In my favourite episode from series 5, Back to Reality (broadcast 26th March 1992), guest star Timothy Spall calls the main cast “a bunch of twonks”. I found the term to be quite unusual – I had never heard it used before this. I took initial meaning of it to be ‘a bit of a plonker’. The Oxford English Dictionary defines twonk as a noun meaning “An idiot; a fool.”. The OED also indicates that the origin of the word is unknown but has been used in the classic sitcom, Only Fools and Horses, in 1982 (naturally a reference to Rodney!). It sounds very punchy and powerful, particularly with the ‘-onk’ ending.

If you are every in an argument and want to throw an insult that your opponent wont expect, call them a twonk!

OED link to “Twonk” –


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