plonk = obnoxious person

Mullins, Bill Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Fri Oct 14 15:50:38 UTC 2005

In Usenet, to "plonk" someone is to put them in your kill-file, such
that emails from them do not show up on your mail reader.  This has
yielded the noun "plonk", with pretty much the same definition, but a
separate etymology:

" You are a PLONK[ Person with Little or No Knowledge] "

[Note that this isn't the real origin of the word.  The word supposedly
comes from the sound a email makes when it his the bottom of a trash

"Pardon me, I don't like to reply to PLONK's but when it comes to
India, I get a bit touchy on that issue."

"Your setup indicates you are a plonk, "

"You are a *plonk* after this email. "

"Krappus - you are a plonk, twice a plonk and thrice a plonk.  Consider
 yourself a plonk "

> >--------
> >
> >In 1950 the British humorist Stephen Potter published a book called
> >_Lifemanship_ (a follow-up to _Gamesmanship_ and predecessor to
> >_One-Upmanship_). The subtitle of the U.S. edition of _Lifemanship_
> >(1951) was _The Art of Getting Away With It Without Being An
> Absolute
> >Plonk_. In Potter's usage "plonk" evidently meant 'an
> obnoxious person'
> >(a New York Times review calls it "an appellative of Mr. Potter's
> >devising with onomatopoetic undertones"). I don't think this
> sense of
> >"plonk" caught on, but here's an example from the Harvard
> Crimson which
> >clearly plays on Potter's subtitle:
> >
> >-----
> >
> >Harvard Crimson, May 4, 1951
> >How to Freeload Without Being An Intolerable Plonk.
> >-----
> >
> >So is Potter's usage sui generis? It seems like it might be
> connected
> >to "plonker" meaning 'a foolish or inept person' (OED 1966),
> or even "plonk"
> >as R.A.F. slang for 'aircraftman second class' (OED 1941).
> >
> >
> >--Ben Zimmer


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