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I found this word Bunkey. I know it's a name. Because I am not a native English speaker, I checked it on Google Translate, its meaning is fool. Then I google it, but I can't find any meaning about fool of it. I'd appreciate it if anyone could help me figure out where the meaning of "fool" comes from or if google just made a mistake, such as mixing "bunkey" with "donkey".

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    Where did you 'find' it? If it's a name, it doesn't have to mean anything. Jan 30, 2023 at 8:56
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    Could it be related to bunk or bunkum, which means nonsense? See merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bunkum
    – Brandin
    Jan 30, 2023 at 10:23
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    From which language did you translate it? Jan 30, 2023 at 13:34
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    It looks like a nonsense word in English (ie it could be a made up word or very rare). In what context did you see this? It's usually best to give a full sentence for the word in which you found it.
    – Mitch
    Jan 30, 2023 at 15:26
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    I'm pretty sure the term was frequently used in police and military TV shows in the 60s, but I haven't heard it since 1975 or so. I'm not sure the meaning was ever clear.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 30, 2023 at 20:54

8 Answers 8

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Possibly derived from bunky:

Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994, has BUNKY, meaning "full of nonsense." 1918.

It also has BUNKIE:

1.a Army & USMC, a bunkmate. 1858. b. student, a roommate. 1918.

2. Army, a friend, comrade. 1865.

3. used as a condescending term of direct address to a man. 1978, Superman 206: "Excuse me, bunkie. Don't you have anything useful to do?

(The Phrase Finder):

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if Google just made a mistake, such as mixing "bunkey" with "donkey".

You can dismiss this without thinking about it any further. Google’s algorithms do not work like that.

From Merriam Webster:

bunkum (n.): insincere or foolish talk : NONSENSE

Some words in the English language have more colorful histories than others, but in the case of bunkum, you could almost say it was an act of Congress that brought the word into being. Back in 1820 Felix Walker, who represented Buncombe County, North Carolina, in the U.S. House of Representatives, was determined that his voice be heard on his constituents' behalf, even though the matter up for debate was irrelevant to Walker's district and he had little to contribute. To the exasperation of his colleagues, Walker insisted on delivering a long and wearisome "speech for Buncombe." His persistent—if insignificant—harangue made buncombe (later respelled bunkum) a synonym for meaningless political claptrap and later for any kind of nonsense.

Early examples of use:

1828 Niles' Reg. 35 66/2 Now Mr. Huskisson did not know..that American Tobacco..was subject to a duty of three shillings per lb. on consumption in Great Britain, and was ‘talking to Bunkum!’

1865 Pall Mall Gazette. 8 Sept. 11/2 The philosopher is tempted to talk a good deal of what we may call scientific ‘buncombe’.

1884 Congregationalist June 456 This appeal to the ‘splendid history and the roll of saints’ is bunkum, or something worse.

Recent examples on the web, which show the broadening of the meaning to "general nonsense"- the current use.

The Telegraph's article immediately drew sharp responses from other journalists, who dismissed the report as bunkum.—Smriti Rao, Discover Magazine, 15 Mar. 2010

Unfortunately, but somewhat predictably, the press has fallen for Bukele’s bunkum hook, line, and sinker.—Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 18 Sep. 2021

MW also gives as synonyms

boloney, beans, bilge, blah, blah-blah, blarney, blather, blatherskite, blither, bosh, bull [slang], bunk, claptrap, codswallop [British], crapola [slang], crock, drivel, drool, fiddle, fiddle-faddle, fiddlesticks, flannel [British], flapdoodle, folderol, falderal, folly, foolishness, fudge, garbage, guff, hogwash, hokeypokey, hokum, etc. etc.

Note the even more abbreviated "bunk"

It is now a short step to “bunky/bunkie/bunkey” where the “y/ie/ey” is indicative of the diminutive or familiar.

Obviously, if someone talks nonsense, they are a fool, and hence the meaning.

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  • Is this where "debunk" comes from? Jan 31, 2023 at 18:23
  • @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas Yes, it is. -- OED: debunk (v.) Origin: Formed within English, by derivation. Etymons: de- prefix 2b, bunk n.4
    – Greybeard
    Jan 31, 2023 at 22:52
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Your intuition that bunkey has something to do with donkey may have some reality to it.

Urban dictionary says it is

a mythical creature which is a cross between a bunny and a donkey.

FreeDictionary finds this example in Daily Herald:

Works on display included dioramas and sculptures of make-believe animals, such as a "bunkey" - a bunny rabbit and monkey - and a "powl," a peacock-owl.

It is a made up word, as Urban dictionary also suggests. Most probably too recent to make it to the established dictionaries.

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This may come from "Noddy and the bunkey", a children's book by Enid Blyton published in 1959. The bunkey claimed to be half monkey and half bunny-rabbit. See https://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk/book-details.php?id=348

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From a New York Times review of Noddy Makes a New Friend...

Noddy meets a "bunkey," claiming to be half-monkey, half-bunny. Noddy befriends the bunkey, who then causes trouble by taking the ...


Sometimes Bunkey is an actual surname (or "diminutive" thereof). And here's a military man using it to mean person with whom you share a bunk (like "hot desking" - you don't both use it at the same time). But none of those are common.

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    I guess the military example is a diminutive of "bunkmate".
    – Barmar
    Jan 30, 2023 at 15:40
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    Yes, I'm sure you're right. But I never heard anyone who has to "hot desk" refer to their opposite number as their desky / deskey. Jan 30, 2023 at 16:17
  • @FumbleFingers: On the other hand, I've definitely seen roommate "abbreviated" as roomie. Jan 31, 2023 at 10:32
  • @MatthieuM: There's also AAVE homie, but that's from "home boy" rather than "home-mate" (but they both net down to "mate from my home district"). I've never heard flattie for "flatmate", though. When I was an undergraduate at Portsmouth we used townie to refer to anyone who wasn't associated with the university itself. Which had no campus, just buildings scattered throughout the city, so we interacted a lot with the "townsfolk" (but I doubt anyone ever applied that label to them). Jan 31, 2023 at 12:55
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There was a comic artist whose schtick included "The Old Philosopher" (1956) who adapted the act later for a TV ad campaign for insurance. The original term he used was "friend" but in the commercials he switched it to "Bunky" which felt similar to "Buddy" (i.e., friend).

One of the commercials using "Bunky" for "friend"

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  • I remember that, too. It was clearly a variety of buddy, a nonce term. Jan 31, 2023 at 15:14
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I have heard this word used as address to a male child much younger than the speaker during greetings or when calling for their attention. Similar usage as "squirt". It was not used in a derogatory way.

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"Bunky" to me is a nickname for someone you room (bunk) with. Diminutive of bunk-mate. More used in context with someone you are sharing rent with, but could also apply to sharing a room (again, splitting the rent). I used it when speaking to another member of my barracks. Even though we had different rooms, we still 'bunked' together in the same facility.

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