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gedunk n. ice cream, a dessert, a snack, or any easy-to-consume food; a store, mess hall, or other place where such treats are bought or eaten. Also geedunk, gedonk, geedonk. Editorial Note: In the 1925 citation to gedunk, meaning ‘to dunk (food),’ is just one of many uses of the term in a regular reader-contributed humorous column, where it was something of a running gag. It is contemporary with and probably related to the gedunk sundaes which appeared in the comic strip “Harold Teen” by Carl Ed, who, in turn, is probably the popularizer of gedunk. The later uses of this term are strongly associated with the Navy. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  • I enlisted in the Navy 11-15-1961, Newark, NJ. While waiting to take the oath, a Machinist 1st class told us we could visit the “geedunk”.
    I asked him where that name came from and he said, in a very grovely voice, ” I’ve been in the Navy 31 years and that’s what it was called when I came in. I don’t know where it came from.”

  • Hi Grant! This is so odd – I had been thinking about this word this week for some reason, how nice to see it on your website. When I was a child in the Panama Canal Zone (1963-65)we kids looked forward to the daily visit of the Gedunk Wagon – a panel truck that would drive slowly through the neighborhood, sort of like the Good Humor Ice Cream Truck. We would run out in swarms to flag the truck down. There was a windowin the back where we could buy candy, soft drinks and snacks, it might have sold bread and other staples too. I figured it was a Navy term, we lived in Naval housing, but I never knew exactly what it meant. Wikipedia says it comes from the sound a vending machine makes. But it sounds like from your citations and the other comments that the word may have existed before vending machines.

  • Gedunk and pogie bait were terms used for any type food not good for you, but used mostly to describe sweets..
    The term gedunk did originate in the Navy long before vending machines..  Both terms were used also in the Army and perhaps in the other branches of service as well…

  • My son and I took a tour of the USS Yorktown.  The tour guide served on a similar carrier.  He asked several old cooks from the WW2 era.  He always got the same answer.  The carriers all had ice cream machines.  When the machine had finished, the operator had to open it.  The sound of opening was gadunk.  He figured a southern sailor had changed it to gedunk.

  • Not so, Susan. The “G” is hard as in goat or gum. The G sound is pronounced like Geese or Geek.  I never saw it printed, but my four Navy years exposed me to hearing it almost every day.

  • I too believe it’s the sound anything makes as it drops from a height.  The ice cream scoops for the 1926 Gedunk sundae would make such a sound when dropping the scoops from a height into the sundae dish, and it’s the sound vending machines make when dispensing snacks.  I’ve also heard the term used when people fall off a skate board onto their head.

  • I agree with a comment above that “gedunk” was not exclusive to the Navy. My father was career Army from ‘42 and he used gedunk the rest of his life.I went into the Army in the early ‘70 and when I tried it out with the troops my age,the usual rely was,“what?” The only soldiers I found that knew it were the older ones, but they didn’t use it much that I remember.

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