"wonk" (notes by Fred Shapiro)(Word Origins)
The OED defines "wonk" as "a studious or hardworking person". An article in _Sports Illustrated_, 17 Dec. 1962, explains that in Harvard slang, there was a tripartite classification of students into wonks, preppies, and jocks. I believe that this classification is in fact the origin of each of the three terms. The earliest citations in the OED for the three terms are dated, respectively, 1962, 1970, and 1963. I have found an occurrence of "wonk" in _Time_ in 1954; an occurrence of "preppie" in the _Cambridge Review_ in 1956; and an occurrence of "jock" in the _Harvard Crimson_ in 1958. In all three instances the context is a Harvard one. (But Esther Vail recalls: "'jocks'; we called them that at Syracuse Univ. as early as 1948".) "Wonk" is said to derive from the word "know" spelled backwards, but this is not certain. Other suggested origins are the adjective "wonky" = "weak, shaky", and "wanker" = "masturbator". "Preppy" comes from "preparatory school". "Jock" (attested from 1922 in the sense "athletic supporter") comes from "jockstrap", from "jock" = "penis", from the male name Jack.
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