A punk is a young troublemaker. If your elderly neighbor thinks of you as a young punk, he either thinks all kids are bad — or you did something that really disturbed him.

The Algonquin word for dust or ashes, ponk is the most likely root of punk, which originally described rotten wood used to start fires. That meaning is also found in the adjective form of punk, poor quality, or disposable. Facing long-term unemployment in 1970s London, kids invented punk rock and extreme styles of dress and hair to go along with it, because, in the words of a well-known punk song of the day, they felt they had no future.

Definitions of punk
  1. noun
    a teenager or young adult who is a performer (or enthusiast) of punk rock and a member of the punk youth subculture
    synonyms: punk rocker
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    type of:
    adolescent, stripling, teen, teenager
    a juvenile between the onset of puberty and maturity
  2. noun
    an aggressive and violent young criminal
    synonyms: goon, hood, hoodlum, strong-armer, thug, tough, toughie
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    a hired thug
    type of:
    criminal, crook, felon, malefactor, outlaw
    someone who has committed a crime or has been legally convicted of a crime
  3. noun
    rock music with deliberately offensive lyrics expressing anger and social alienation; in part a reaction against progressive rock
    synonyms: punk rock
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    type of:
    rock, rock 'n' roll, rock and roll, rock music, rock'n'roll, rock-and-roll
    a genre of popular music originating in the 1950s; a blend of black rhythm-and-blues with white country-and-western
  4. noun
    material for starting a fire
    synonyms: kindling, spunk, tinder, touchwood
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    type of:
    igniter, ignitor, lighter
    a substance used to ignite or kindle a fire
  5. noun
    substance that smolders when ignited; used to light fuses (especially fireworks)
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    type of:
    igniter, ignitor, lighter
    a substance used to ignite or kindle a fire
  6. adjective
    of very poor quality; flimsy
    synonyms: bum, cheap, cheesy, chintzy, crummy, sleazy, tinny
    of low or inferior quality
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