• noun a dull-witted, buffoonish or grotesque person. Gonk was services’ slang in the 1950s for sleep (probably from ‘conk out’), but the word was used as a trademark name for troll-like dolls in the late 1960s. It is from this source that the word as a term of abuse or contempt arose, just as muppet did in the late 1970s. Gonk was applied by schoolchildren to unfortunate fellow-pupils and by hospital staff and police to the mentally retarded.