- This term has been deemed a more politically correct term for European-Americans (Caucasians) to use than the adjective sense of ‘ghetto.’ It is uncertain what type of word formation process led to the introduction of this word into our language. It is likely to be a novel creation because European-Americans sought to create a more ‘politically correct’ and less racially-charged term for ‘ghetto (adj.).’ It is possible, but probably less likely, that it comes from a variation on ‘junky’ and that the vowel was changed to distinguish it from ‘junky.’
adjective; other word formation type
having the qualities of or being associated with a poor urban area or ghetto
Etymology : Its etymology has not yet been documented and may remain uncertain, as it appears to have no clear origin or word formation process; however, it was possibly formed as a novel creation by communities of European-Americans. The ‘-y’ suffix on ‘janky’ is an adjective forming suffix; the origin and meaning of ‘jank,’ however, is uncertain and it is not known to appear on its own as a noun.
Source : ‘Her car is so janky; I was embarrassed to be seen in it.’ (Conversation with friend, October 2008)
Last modified: 5 December 2008