Dear Kitchn, why is cheap or bad wine called "plonk"?
I must know. It's driving me crazy.
The Jancis Robinson's Oxford Companion to Wine mentions other evolutionary stages of the term, including "von Blink‚" sounding like the name of a German officer, to "plinketty plonk‚" like the twanging of a banjo. "Plonk" was coincidentally a British slang for mud, and the word spread through British troops as well.
By WWII this term also referred to the lowest airmen of the Royal Air Force - "A/C Plonk‚" for aircraftman 2nd class. Or, if you will, plonk in the glass.
Some say that the word comes from the sound of the cork being drawn or the "plonking" down of a glass on a bar, but these are only cursorily related. The roots, we're afraid, of the word plonk, are in war, privation, and making light of the only mud you've got.
(Image: Cheap Fun Wines)