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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ There's a bunch of gunk clogging the drain.
▪ If you were expecting the graceful and chaste fluidity of Swan Lake, you would surely have got the right gunk.
▪ The rest of us are up to our elbows in the gunk, digging out the recyclables.
▪ There was greasy gunk on his lips and his mouth was full of rancid sourness.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

gunk \gunk\ n. any thick gooey and messy substance. [informal]

Syn: goo, gook, guck, muck, ooze, sludge, slime.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1949, "viscous substance," American English, apparently from Gunk, trademark for a thick liquid soap patented 1932 by A.F. Curran Co. of Malden, Mass.


n. 1 (context uncountable informal English) dirt or grime; any vague or unknown substance 2 (context uncountable English) A subculture of 21st century American males, combining elements of modern gothic culture with punk rock. 3 (context countable English) A member of the gunk subculture. vb. To soil or make dirty


n. any thick messy substance [syn: sludge, slime, goo, gook, guck, muck, ooze]


Gunk may refer to:

  • Gunge, an unspecific greasy, filthy substance.
  • Gunk (mereology), the term in mereology for any whole whose parts all have further proper parts
  • Gunk, a character in the comic strip Curtis (comic strip)
  • Gunk, a line of automotive maintenance products produced by the Radiator Specialty Company
  • Shawangunk Ridge, often referred to as "the Gunks"
Gunk (mereology)

In mereology, an area of philosophical logic, the term gunk applies to any whole whose parts all have further proper parts. That is, a gunky object is not made of indivisible atoms or simples. Because parthood is transitive, any part of gunk is itself gunk.

If point-sized objects are always simple, then a gunky object does not have any point-sized parts. By usual accounts of gunk, such as Alfred Tarski's in 1929, three-dimensional gunky objects also do not have other degenerate parts shaped like one-dimensional curves or two-dimensional surfaces. (See also Whitehead's point-free geometry.)

Gunk is an important test case for accounts of the composition of material objects: for instance, Ted Sider has challenged Peter van Inwagen's account of composition because it is inconsistent with the possibility of gunk. Sider's argument also applies to a simpler view than van Inwagen's: mereological nihilism, the view that only material simples exist. If nihilism is necessarily true, then gunk is impossible. But, as Sider argues, because gunk is both conceivable and possible, nihilism is false, or at best a contingent truth.

Gunk has also played an important role in the history of topology in recent debates concerning change, contact, and the structure of physical space. The composition of space and the composition of material objects are related by receptacles - regions of space that could harbour a material object. (The term receptacles was coined by Richard Cartwright (Cartwright 1975).) It seems reasonable to assume that if space is gunky, a receptacle is gunky and then a material object is possibly gunky.

The term was first used by David Lewis in his work Parts of Classes (1991). Dean W. Zimmerman defends the possibility of atomless gunk (1996b). See also Hud Hudson (2007).

Usage examples of "gunk".

OK, Chekov, clean that red gunk off and then well call Tram Bir and show him another Beshwa miracle.

I lined my eyes in midnight blue, gunked them up with mascara, painted my mouth whore red, and hung the biggest, brassiest earrings I owned from my lobes.

I said, thinking that too much bee gunk went inside him and sent a sort of thrombus to clog his heart.

Maalox bottle over and it was spilling thick, white, stomach-acid-quelling, ulcer-coating gunk down her suit jacket, her skirt, and pooling in a globby puddle in her lap.

They were waist-deep in the engine compartment, checking out the belts and the radiator, which was miraculously free of the corrosion and the green gunk that is the residue of years of antifreeze, checking out the generator and the tight, gleam­ing pistons socketed in their valves.

She gave him a barium enema and he asked her how she'd managed to get a job shooting white gunk into assholes all day.

I took off my shoes and hobbled into the back room to scrap the gunk out of the coffee pot.

Their object was not to blast innumerable gunks, but to find their way through the maze to the Eviler Sorceress.

Their object was not to blast innu merable gunks, but to find their way through the maze to the Eviler Sorceress.

Superoxide free radicals, which is what these garbage molecules are called, combine with fatty acids to produce lipofuscin, which is an unstable, repulsive gunk that clogs up a cell like grease clogs a drain.

A smell of odorized methane and Gunk had worked its way into the paneling.

Leaning against the jamb, he watched as she looked into the mirror over the sink and began to peel off the mud gunk.

But if he did not do what Joe wanted, no telling what the little punchdrunk maniac was likely to do to Herbie's flabby city-boy body, so he pulled on some pants, a shirt, and his sneakers, accepted a tug from the pint bottle of alcoholic gunk Joe offered, and shuddered as Nancy threw her arm around his shoulders, shouting, "Let's go!

You don't expect a science teacher to believe that you found a can of sticky green gunk in a toy store that makes things grow and grow.

And our friend will not agree with me that we'll have to step up the strength of our output if we're ever going to punch through all that pressurized gunk out there.