The Word: Wonk
The Meaning: An expert or someone steeped in the details of a particular issue area or field, e.g. policy wonk. Sometimes used as a compliment (“She’s a real health policy wonk”) and sometimes used as an insult to suggest someone is a nerd (“I would never date such a wonk”).
Used in a Sentence: “The Bully vs. The Wonk“
What it Means: Washington, DC is filled with wonks - people with deep expertise in specific policy issues, who sometimes speak in a vernacular often not understood by people outside the Beltway. Hence, the need for this column – to “dewonkify” words!
History: According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary the word first appeared in 1954.