Green’s Dictionary of Slang

punk n.1

[? SE punch, to pierce and linked to punch v. (1); note Sp. punto, puto, a male prostitute]

1. [late 16C–1920s] (also pung, punquetto) a young female prostitute.

2. [mid-19C] (UK Und.) a girlfriend.

3. [20C+] (US prison, also jailhouse punk, penitentiary punk, punkie) a young inmate used for sex by older, stronger peers; thus an inmate’s ‘boyfriend’ or ‘wife’; thus punkfucker, the active partner in such a relationship; punk tank, a segration zone for punks in a prison; similarly used by US tramps.

4. [20C+] (US) a tramp’s younger companion; usu. a catamite.

5. [20C+] a general term of disparagement.

6. [1900s] (US) a person, irrespective of character.

7. [20C+] (US, also punkie, punky) a young criminal or street gang member.

8. [1910s+] an adolescent boy.

9. [1930s–40s] a youngster, a child.

10. [1930s+] (US/W.I.) a coward, a weakling.

11. [1940s+] (US) a male homosexual.

12. [1950s] (US) a sexually forward teenage girl.

13. [1960s–70s] (US, also punkie) a male prostitute.

In derivatives

punkerino (adj.)

[1900s-1920s] (US) useless, second-rate; also as n. a second-rate individual or object.

punkish (adj.)

1. [17C–18C] showy, flashy.

2. [1960s+] (US) weak, effeminate.

In compounds

punk-ass (n.) [-ass sfx]

[1970s+] (US) a general term of abuse.

punk-ass (adj.) [-ass sfx] [1970s+] (US)

1. of a person, object or situation, useless, second-rate, worthless.

2. young, immature.

punk-master (n.)

[early 17C] a pimp.

punk-out (n.)

see separate entry.

punk pills (n.) [i.e. their creation of artificial courage]

[1960s–70s] (drugs) any form of tranquillizer.

punk-simple (adj.) [-simple sfx (1)]

[1950s] (US prison) obsessed with young homosexual boys.

punk’s run (n.) [pun on SE chicken run]

[1980s+] (US prison) the protective custody unit for those whose lives would be at risk if they were kept with the prison population as a whole.

In phrases

ride punk (v.)

[1970s+] (US black/teen) to sit in the middle of the back seat in a car.