Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

plonk, vague and derogatory English term for wine of undistinguished quality, is a term of Australian slang that has been naturalized in Britain. During the First World War, the French vin blanc with its un-English nasal vowels was adapted in various fantastic ways, from ‘von Blink’, which sounded like a German officer, to ‘plinketty plonk’, which suggested the twanging of a banjo. This was shortened to ‘plonk’, which coincidentally was also British soldiers’ slang for ‘mud’. By the Second World War this had given rise to ‘A/C Plonk’ for aircraftman 2nd class, the lowest of the low in the RAF and hence parallel to plonk in the glass.