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See also: Zonk




First attested around 1950. Unknown origin, likely imitative, of echoic origin.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /zɒŋk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɒŋk


zonk (plural zonks)

  1. An unfavorable card or token, or undesirable or worthless item used as a prize in a contest or game show (such as Let's Make a Deal).
    • 2003-10-1, Gregory Arthur Baer Life: The Odds (And How to Improve Them), Penguin, →ISBN, page 237
      There will always be two doors that hold zonks, so regardless of whether you initially chose the grand prize or a zonk, Monty will always be able to show you a zonk not chosen.
    • 2003-12-30, Jerrilyn Farmer, Mumbo Gumbo: A Madeline Bean Novel, HarperCollins, →ISBN, page 204:
      A live, mane-embellished, SAG-card-carrying lion, I should point out, who was likely being staged for a few minutes off to the side before he would be used as a freaking “Zonk!” on a freaking game show, for crying out loud.
    • 2004, Jay Mechling, On My Honor: Boy Scouts and the Making of American Youth, University of Chicago Press, →ISBN, page 124
      A zonk was way overdue, yet the boys knew that the Seniors knew they would think this was a zonk and would trick the boys by making this another real prize.
    • 2004, Timothy V. Rasinski, Nancy Padak, Effective reading strategies: teaching children who find reading difficult, Pearson/Prentice Hall, →ISBN, page 150
      I have three empty coffee cans, two with prizes and one with a slip of paper that says "Zonk."
    • 2006-05-09, Bruce Frey, Statistics hacks, O'Reilly Media, →ISBN, page 208:
      Avoid the Zonk / On the TV show Let's Make a Deal, contestants often had to choose between three curtains.
    • 2008, Max H. Bazerman, Don A. Moore, Judgment in Managerial Decision Making, John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, page 53:
      Once a contestant picked a door, Monty would often open one of the other two doors to reveal a zonk, ...
    • 2009, Victor Shoup, A Computational Introduction to Number Theory and Algebra, Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 217:
      Behind two doors is a “zonk,” that is, something amusing but of little or no value, such as a goat, ...
  2. (slang) A feeling of a drug taking hold.



zonk (third-person singular simple present zonks, present participle zonking, simple past and past participle zonked)

  1. To hit hard [1950].
  2. (transitive) To make (someone) sleepy or delirious, to put into a stupor [1968].
  3. (intransitive, usually followed by “out”) To become exhausted, sleepy or delirious.
    After two hours of studying, I zonked out.

Derived termsEdit







  1. singular past indicative of zinken