Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Discarded material, such as glass, rags, paper, or metal, some of which may be reused in some form.
  • noun Articles that are worn-out or fit to be discarded.
  • noun Cheap or shoddy material.
  • noun Something meaningless, fatuous, or unbelievable.
  • noun The genitals.
  • noun The buttocks.
  • noun Slang Heroin.
  • noun Hard salt beef for consumption on board a ship.
  • transitive verb To discard as useless or sell to be reused as parts; scrap.
  • adjective Cheap, shoddy, or worthless.
  • adjective Having a superficial appeal or utility, but lacking substance.
  • adjective Relating to or similar to junk bonds, especially in having a high risk of default.
  • noun A Chinese flatbottom ship with a high poop and battened sails.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A rush; a reed.
  • noun Nautical, old or condemned cable and cordage cut into small pieces, used when untwisted for making points, gaskets, swabs, mats, etc., and picked into fibers to make oakum for calking seams.
  • noun Hence Worn-out and discarded material in general that may be turned to some use; especially, old rope, chain, iron, copper, parts of machinery, and bottles, gathered or bought up by tradesmen called junk-dealers; hence, rubbish- of any kind; odds and ends.
  • noun Salt beef or pork supplied to vessels for long voyages: so called from its resemblance in toughness to old ropes' ends.
  • noun The mass of blubbery and cellular tissue which fills the cavity of the head of the sperm-whale between the case and the white-horse, containing oil and spermaceti.
  • noun A thick piece; a. lump; a chunk.
  • noun A large sea-going sailing vessel used in the Chinese seas.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Pieces of old cable or old cordage, used for making gaskets, mats, swabs, etc., and when picked to pieces, forming oakum for filling the seams of ships.
  • noun Old iron, or other metal, glass, paper, etc., bought and sold by junk dealers.
  • noun Something worthless, or only worth its value as recyclable scrap.
  • noun (Naut.) Hard salted beef supplied to ships.
  • noun a stout bottle made of thick dark-colored glass.
  • noun a dealer in old cordage, old metal, glass, etc.
  • noun (Whaling) a hook for hauling heavy pieces of blubber on deck.
  • noun A follower.
  • noun a shop where old cordage, and ship's tackle, old iron, old bottles, old paper, etc., are kept for sale.
  • noun (Leather Manuf.) a large vat into which spent tan liquor or ooze is pumped.
  • noun (Mil.) a wad used in proving cannon; also used in firing hot shot.
  • noun colloq. A fragment of any solid substance; a thick piece. See chunk.
  • noun (Naut.) A large vessel, without keel or prominent stem, and with huge masts in one piece, used by the Chinese, Japanese, Siamese, Malays, etc., in navigating their waters.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun nautical A Chinese sailing vessel.
  • noun Discarded or waste material; rubbish, trash.
  • noun A collection of miscellaneous items of little value.
  • noun slang Any narcotic drug, especially heroin.
  • noun slang Genitalia.
  • noun nautical Salt beef.
  • verb transitive To throw away.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun any of various Chinese boats with a high poop and lugsails
  • noun the remains of something that has been destroyed or broken up
  • verb dispose of (something useless or old)

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English jonk, an old cable or rope.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Portuguese junco or Dutch jonk, both from Javanese djong, variant of djung, from Old Javanese jong, seagoing ship.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Portuguese junco, from Javanese djong (Malay adjong).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English junke ("old cable, rope"), probably from Old French jonc ("rush"), from Latin iuncus ("rush").

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Examples

  • ~ One man's junk may be a genomic treasure -- Scientists have only recently begun to speculate that what`s referred to as “junk” DNA - the 96 percent of the human genome that doesn`t encode for proteins and previously seemed to have no useful purpose - is present in the genome for an important reason.

    Speedlinking 7/12/07 William Harryman 2007

  • I did the polar bear swim today too – oh that was the coldest thing ever – it wouldn’t have been so bad except that there was this crazy wind on the beach, and these huge waves that brought all the junk on the sea floor up, and so when I got out I was covered in seaweed and junk…

    jenna-bear Diary Entry jenna-bear 2004

  • It is more than a tad ironic that John Stossel frequently used and even popularized the term "junk science" on "20/20," and I began to wonder if he was engaging in it himself.

    Dana Ullman: Disinformation on Homeopathy: Two Leading Sources Dana Ullman 2011

  • For many investors, the term "junk bond" evokes thoughts of investment scams and high-flying financiers of the 1980s, such as Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken, who were known as "junk bond kings."

    unknown title 2011

  • Anyone who is a craftsman (woman) who has valuable skills is losing the value of those skills because we are awash in junk from the Far East!

    Some Peeves from a Gunsmith 2009

  • Anyone who is a craftsman (woman) who has valuable skills is losing the value of those skills because we are awash in junk from the Far East!

    Some Peeves from a Gunsmith 2009

  • While his use of the term junk food conjures images of some guy sustaining himself entirely on Pringles and Dollar Menu Cheeseburgers, there are tons of junky low-nutrition value foods out there.

    Avoid Putting On ‘Recession Pounds’ | Lifehacker Australia 2009

  • TUCHMAN: Add to that a leaky laboratory roof and a tropical storm that flooded the lab in 2002, and you see why some of the work that comes from this lab earned the label junk science.

    CNN Transcript Aug 18, 2009 2009

  • TUCHMAN: Add to that a leaky laboratory roof and a tropical storm that flooded the lab in 2002, and you see why some of the work that comes from this lab earned the label junk science.

    CNN Transcript Aug 18, 2009 2009

  • While his use of the term junk food conjures images of some guy sustaining himself entirely on Pringles and Dollar Menu Cheeseburgers, there are tons of junky low-nutrition value foods out there.

    Sunday, January 18, 2009 | Lifehacker Australia 2009

  • In her book “Out of the Attic: Inventing Antiques in Twentieth-Century New England,” the social historian Briann Greenfield describes how, at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the value of antiques began to rise, a middle-class cadre of enterprising “junk snuppers” began departing in cars from urban centers to the countryside, where they knocked on farmhouse doors and kindly offered to relieve inhabitants of any mint-condition Americana.

    The Wild, Wonderful World of Estate Sales Condé Nast 2022

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  • I'm off it, man.

    May 30, 2008