Definition of JUNK

JUNK Noun and Verb

Junk is primarily a noun and a verb, referring to discarded material or items of little value and the act of discarding something.

JUNK as a noun

As a noun, junk refers to old or discarded items that are considered useless or of little value. For example, “The garage was filled with junk,” highlights items that are no longer needed.

Types of Junk: Junk can encompass a wide variety of items, from broken furniture and appliances to old clothes and miscellaneous objects. For instance, “She cleared out all the junk from the attic,” indicates a mix of different useless items.

Economic and Environmental Impact: The accumulation and disposal of junk have significant economic and environmental implications. For example, “The city’s junk removal services are essential for maintaining cleanliness,” shows the role of managing waste.

Personal Clutter: On a personal level, junk can refer to clutter in one’s home, which can affect mental and physical well-being. For example, “Decluttering the house and getting rid of junk can be very therapeutic,” suggests the benefits of a cleaner space.

Junk Food: Colloquially, junk also refers to food with low nutritional value, often high in sugar, fat, and calories. For example, “He decided to cut out all the junk from his diet,” implies avoiding unhealthy foods.

JUNK as a verb

As a verb, junk means to discard or get rid of something that is no longer useful or wanted. For instance, “They decided to junk the old car,” indicates the act of discarding it.

Junking Process: The process of junking can involve different methods depending on the item, such as recycling, donating, or disposing of in a landfill. For example, “She junked the broken computer at a recycling center,” describes an environmentally friendly disposal method.

Impact on Recycling and Waste Management: Junking items properly can contribute to effective waste management and recycling efforts, reducing environmental harm. For example, “Junking old electronics responsibly helps prevent e-waste pollution,” highlights the importance of proper disposal.

Cultural and Historical Aspects: Historically, the term junk has been used to describe not only waste but also specific types of sailing ships in East Asia. However, this use is less common today. For example, “The museum displayed a model of a traditional Chinese junk,” refers to the ship.

Junk Shops and Collectibles: Junk can also be found in junk shops, where one person’s trash might be another’s treasure. For instance, “She loved browsing junk shops for vintage finds,” shows how discarded items can be valued by others.

In conclusion, junk serves as both a noun and a verb, encompassing the concept of discarded, worthless items and the act of discarding them. Whether dealing with personal clutter, junk food, or the process of junking items, the term highlights the broader implications for individual well-being and environmental sustainability.

Examples of JUNK in a sentence

JUNK as a noun in a sentence

  • The attic was filled with old junk from decades past.
  • They hauled away truckloads of junk during the spring cleaning.
  • He rummaged through the junk drawer looking for his keys.
  • The garage sale had a variety of household junk for sale.
  • The beach was littered with plastic junk washed ashore.
  • She found a hidden treasure amidst the junk in the basement.
  • The antique store specialized in repurposing old junk into art.
  • The company disposed of electronic junk in an environmentally friendly manner.

JUNK as a verb in a sentence

  • They decided to junk the old car rather than repair it.
  • He junked his outdated computer and bought a new one.
  • She junked her old clothes to make room for new ones.
  • The company decided to junk the project due to budget constraints.
  • They hired a removal service to junk the debris from the demolition.
  • He regretted junking his childhood toys when he saw their value later.
  • The city council voted to junk the proposal after public outcry.
  • They had to junk the idea of a beach picnic due to the bad weather.

Origin of JUNK

The term junk has its etymological origins intertwined with both nautical and linguistic histories.

  • Nautical Origins: In its original sense, junk refers to a type of ancient Chinese sailing ship characterized by distinctive sails and hull designs. These ships were commonly used for trade and exploration in East Asia, with the earliest known references dating back to the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE).
  • Linguistic Evolution: The term junk entered the English language through interactions between Western explorers, traders, and sailors with East Asian cultures. It originally referred specifically to these Chinese sailing vessels but later expanded in meaning to encompass any old or discarded objects, especially those of little value.
  • Cultural Significance: Over time, junk acquired various connotations depending on context. In nautical terms, it retained its association with traditional Chinese ships, while in everyday language, it came to represent anything considered useless, inferior, or cluttered.
  • Modern Usage: In contemporary English, junk is commonly used to describe items that are regarded as worthless, unwanted, or of poor quality. This can include physical objects, such as old furniture or broken appliances, as well as abstract concepts like “junk food” or “junk mail.”

Through its journey from ancient Chinese ships to its modern usage as a descriptor for discarded or low-quality items, the term junk reflects the dynamic interplay between nautical history, cultural exchange, and linguistic evolution.


  • Rubbish
  • Debris
  • Garbage
  • Trash
  • Litter
  • Detritus
  • Waste
  • Scraps


  • Treasure
  • Valuables
  • Assets
  • Luxuries
  • Belongings
  • Possessions
  • Prized items
  • Gems


  • Clutter
  • Discard
  • Disposal
  • Junkyard
  • Recycle
  • Dump
  • Hoard
  • Salvage

🌐 🇬🇧 JUNK in other languages

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