Not to be confused with Wanka (disambiguation).
Wanker is a pejorative term of English origin, common in Commonwealth and ex-Commonwealth countries, including Canada, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. It initially referred to an onanist but has since become a general insult. It is synonymous with tosser.The term wanker originated from British slang in the 1940s. Wanker literally means "one who wanks (masturbates)". In modern usage it is usually a general insult. It conveys contempt, not commentary on sexual habits. Wanker has similar meanings and overtones to American pejoratives like jerk,and jerk-off. One connotation implies egotistical and self-indulgent behaviour. This is the dominant meaning in Australia and New Zealand.
"Wanker" hand gesture
Wanker may be indicated by a one-handed gesture, usually to an audience out of hearing range. It is shown by curling the fingers of the hand into a loose fist and moving the hand back and forth to mime male masturbation, which is equivalent to saying, "[you are a] wanker".
Wanker is the centre of a popular story regarding the British television quiz show Countdown in which contestants have to form the longest word possible from nine randomly selected letters. On one occasion the letters permitted the spelling of 'wanker' (or 'wankers') and both contestants replied with the word, leading one to quip "we've got a pair of wankers". The sequence was edited out of the show (as is common with risqué words, although the spelling of "erection" was permitted), but has been shown as an outtake on other shows. However, on a later occasion, 'wanker' was offered, and this instance was left in and broadcast unedited.
"The Winker's Song (Misprint)" by Ivor Biggun is one of many songs about masturbation. It describes the singer: "I'm a wanker, I'm a wanker. And it does me good like it bloody well should", and it reached number 22 in the 1978 UK charts. It was banned by BBC Radio 1