Last modified on 16 August 2014, at 09:56
See also: Bork and börk



Etymology 1Edit

From the 1987 United States Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork.[1]


bork (third-person singular simple present borks, present participle borking, simple past and past participle borked)

  1. (US, politics, often pejorative) To defeat a judicial nomination through a concerted attack on the nominee's character, background and philosophy.
    • 2002, Orrin G. Hatch, Capital Hill Hearing Testimony before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, February 7, 2002, [2]
      After an eight-year hiatus, these groups are back on the scene, ready to implement an apparent vicious strategy of Borking any judicial nominee who happens to disagree with their view of how the world should be.
    • 2004, Mark Tushnet, A Court Divided, p340
      Forcing their adversaries to bork nominees may, they may think, lead voters in the middle to think less well of liberals, enhancing the distaste for Washington politics that has helped conservatives gain political power.
    • 2006, Jeffrey Lord, Borking Rush, in American Spectator, October 30, 2006
      Above all it discusses the best tactics to defeat a borking. Having been in the Reagan White House when Robert Bork was borked, I knew something about the subject, which was a huge help when the same borking guns were turned on my friend Judge Smith years later.

Usage notesEdit

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Probably the first use of "Bork" in this way was by the National Lampoon Radio Hour in 1973, to describe the firing of Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox by then-Solicitor General Bork. The meaning, with Bork as the Borker, was subsequently undermined by conservatives using the term as described in the following paragraphs, depicting Bork as an object of Borking.

William Safire of The New York Times attributes "possibly" the first use of 'Bork' as a verb to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of August 20th, 1987. Safire defines "to bork" by reference "to the way Democrats savaged Ronald Reagan's nominee, the Appeals Court judge Robert H. Bork, the year before." [3] This definition stems from the history of the fight over Bork's nomination. Bork was widely lauded for his competence, but reviled for his political philosophy. In March 2002, the word was added to the Oxford English Dictionary under "Bork"; its definition extends beyond judicial nominees, stating that people who Bork others "usually [do so] with the aim of preventing [a person's] appointment to public office."

Perhaps the best known use of the verb to bork occurred in July 1991 at a conference of the National Organization for Women in New York City. Feminist Florynce Kennedy addressed the conference on the importance of defeating the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. She said, "We're going to bork him. We're going to kill him politically. . . . This little creep, where did he come from?"[4] Thomas was subsequently confirmed after one of the most divisive confirmation fights in Supreme Court history.

See also burke.

Etymology 2Edit

  • Possibly derived from borken, which is an intentional misspelling of the word broken (e.g. The computer is borken). The word is often used in ironic or humorous contexts.
  • Possibly derived from usage described under Etymology 1.


bork (third-person singular simple present borks, present participle borking, simple past and past participle borked)

  1. To misconfigure, especially a computer or other complex device.
  2. To break or damage.


  1. ^ Higbee, Arthur (1993-01-13), "American Topics", International Herald Tribune. International Herald Tribune. URL accessed on 2008-11-14.
  2. ^ Hatch, Orrin G. (2007-02-07), "Statement of The Honorable Orrin Hatch", The Nomination of Charles W. Pickering to be United States Circuit Court Judge for the Fifth Circuit. United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. URL accessed on 2008-11-14.
  3. ^ WILLIAM SAFIRE (2001, May 27). ON LANGUAGE :judge fights 'borking' needed to ston court packing'? THE END OF MINORITY. New York Times (1857-Current file),p. SM12. Retrieved June 17, 2008, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2004) database. (Document ID: 383739671).
  4. ^ Fund, John (2001-01-08), "The Borking Begins", The Wall Street Journal. URL accessed on 2007-08-17.

Norwegian NynorskEdit

bork (exterior covering of a tree)


From Old Norse bǫrkr.


bork m (definite singular borken, uncountable)

  1. bark (exterior covering of a tree)
    Borken til treet hadde falle av.
    The bark of the tree had fallen off.
  2. cortex (outer layer of an internal organ or body structure)