Alternative formsEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From wank +‎ -er.


  • IPA(key): /ˈwæŋkə(ɹ)/
  • Rhymes: -æŋkə(ɹ)
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wanker (plural wankers) (Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand)

  1. (slang, derogatory, vulgar) A person who wanks.
  2. (slang, derogatory, vulgar) An idiot, a stupid person.
  3. (slang, derogatory, vulgar) An annoying person.
  4. (slang, derogatory, vulgar) An ineffectual person.
  5. (slang, derogatory, vulgar) Someone who shows off too much, a poser or poseur; someone who is overly self-satisfied.
  6. (slang, humorous, vulgar) A very informal address used between friends.
Usage notesEdit
  • Refers mainly to males. A 2000 study by several British broadcasting organizations found that "wanker" was the fourth most offensive word in the UK (after cunt, motherfucker, and fuck).
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

UK 1890s. From stwanker, from stinker. Used at Felsted School, Essex.


wanker (plural wankers)

  1. (obsolete, Britain, school slang) A salted, and lightly smoked herring or mackerel; a bloater.
    • 1892 October, The Felstedian, page 105:
      My name it is "wanker";
      a leaner or lanker,
      Salter or ranker,
      fish never swam.
    • 1897 June, The Felstedian, page 100:
      He sniffs. "'Eugh, wankers again."


  • Farmer, John Stephen (1900) The Public School Word-Book[1], London: Hirshfeld Brothers, page 217