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

  • n. A dull, hollow sound: the thunk of a metal pipe striking a tree.
  • intransitive v. To make a dull, hollow sound: "Her hard shoes thunk on the stairs” ( Carolyn Chute).
  • v. Nonstandard A past tense and a past participle of think.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a delayed computation
  • n. In the Scheme programming language, a function or procedure taking no arguments.
  • n. a mapping of machine data from one system-specific form to another, usually for compatibility reasons, such as from 16-bit addresses to 32-bit to allow a 16-bit program to run on a 32-bit operating system.
  • interj. Representing the sound of the impact of a heavy object striking another and coming to an immediate standstill, with neither object being broken by the impact.
  • v. to strike against something, without breakage, making a "thunk" sound
  • v. Past participle of think

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

  • n. a dull hollow sound


(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
By analogy with past tenses and past participles ending in "-unk", such as drunk and sunk (Wiktionary)
Onomatopoeic (Wiktionary)
Claimed by the inventors to be from the supposed past tense, being coined when they realised after much thought (whence "thunk") that the type of an argument in ALGOL 60 could be predetermined at compile time; not, as is sometimes claimed, from the interjection, being the supposed sound made by data hitting the stack or an accumulator (Wiktionary)



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  • Another humourously false irregular past participle (see also shat and brung), formed no doubt by analogy to sink - sunk, stink - stunk and drink - drunk. The simple past form thank does not exist, likely because of its use a separate word and the prevalence of thought as past tense even when this spurious participle is used. An argument could be made for a similarly spurious formation in plink - plunk. I could possibly attest to experience of that usage; however, both of those words are onomatopoeic enough that grammatical change between them seems subsidiary (as also in clink - clunk). No ablaut occurs for wink or link (or fink or dink for that matter, but they are a good deal more dialectical).

    December 18, 2010