Gook (/ˈɡuːk/ or /ˈɡʊk/) is a derogatory term for certain people of East and Southeast Asian descent. The slur is frequently directed toward foreigners, especially people of Filipino, Korean, or Vietnamese descent.[1] It was originally predominantly used by the U.S. military during wartime, especially during the Korean War, and more so during the Vietnam War.[2][3]

Etymology and use

The Oxford English Dictionary states that the origin of the current usage is unknown.[2] There are three suggested possible origins:

  • An earlier usage of gook, meaning "prostitute", recorded in a slang dictionary published in 1893, which defined gook as "a low prostitute";[4] a similar meaning was recorded for gooh in 1859.[5] This later came to imply a foolish or peculiar person.[6] The goo-goo term, whose origins are similarly uncertain, was first used in 1842 by U.S. troops in the Second Opium War,[7] to refer to Koreans living in China at the time, although slanty nigger was more prevalent to distinguish Koreans from the Chinese, who were referred to as chinky or chinks.[8]
  • That when American servicemen heard the term during the Korean War, they heard the word as 'gook" instead of k(g)uk which means "national" (maybe, thus, interpreted as nationalist) goo-goo (also gugu), a term used by the U.S. military to describe Koreans.[6]
  • That "gook" comes from the Korean word "국" (guk), meaning "country",[9] "한국" (hanguk), meaning "Korea", or "미국" (miguk), meaning "America".[10] For example, U.S. soldiers might have heard locals saying miguk, referring to Americans, and misinterpreted this as "Me gook."[11] "Mỹ Quốc"[12] is an archaism in Vietnamese that died out due to a language shift, starting from just before the Indochina Wars and culminating with the end of that period often referred to as the Vietnam War, which has the same root and similar pronunciation to Korean "미국" (miguk) both stemming from Chinese characters "美國"(Měiguó) also meaning "America."

Mencken reported the earliest use of the word gook: he wrote that U.S. Marines occupying Nicaragua in 1912 took to calling the natives gooks and that it had previously been a term for Filipinos.[13] He further mentions that the natives of Costa Rica are sometimes called goo-goos.[14] The first written use was in 1920 and mentions that the Marines occupying Haiti used the term to refer to Haitians.[15] U.S. occupation troops in South Korea after World War II called the Koreans "gooks".[16] After the return of U.S. troops to the Korean Peninsula, so prevalent was the use of the word gook during the first months of the Korean War that U.S. General Douglas MacArthur banned its use, for fear that Asians would become alienated to the United Nations Command because of the insult.[2][17][18] The term was even used in British Army dispatches during the Korean War; the posthumous Victoria Cross citation for Major Kenneth Muir, for the Battle of Hill 282, stated that his last words were: "The Gooks will never drive the Argylls off this hill".[19] Although mainly used to describe non-European foreigners, especially East and Southeast Asians, it has been used to describe foreigners in general,[20] including Italians in 1944, Indians, Lebanese and Turks in the '70s, and Arabs in 1988.[6] This dual usage is similar to the offensive word wog in British English.

In modern U.S. usage, "gook" refers particularly to communist soldiers during the Vietnam War and has also been used towards all Vietnamese and at other times to all East Asians in general. It is considered to be highly offensive. In a highly publicized incident, Senator John McCain used the word during the 2000 presidential campaign to refer to his former captors: "I hate the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live… I was referring to my prison guards and I will continue to refer to them in language that might offend." He later apologized to the Vietnamese community at large.[21]

The term has been used by non-U.S. militaries, notably the Rhodesian forces during the Rhodesian Bush War, where it was used interchangeably with terr and terrorist to describe the guerrillas,[22][23] and by Australian forces during the Vietnam War.[6]

The 1960 single "Yogi" by The Ivy Three contains gook in the lyrics to describe an Indian Yogi. The harmless usage of the term in the lyrics indicates that it had become a playful word used to describe certain Asian ethnic groups before its usage Vietnam War redefined the term as an offensive racial epithet.


  1. ^ Oxford Dictionares
  2. ^ a b c "Gook: The Short History of an Americanism". Monthly Review. March 1992. Archived from the original on October 30, 2014.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Farmer, John S.; Henley, W. E. (1893). Slang and its Analogues, Past and Present. III - Fla. to Hyps. Printed for subscribers only. p. 181.
  5. ^ Lighter, Jonathan E. (1997). Random Historical Dictionary of American Slang. Random House.
  6. ^ a b c d Hughes, Geoffrey (2006). An Encyclopedia of Swearing. Routledge. pp. 207–8.
  7. ^ Paterson, Thomas; Merrill, Dennis (2009). Major Problems in American Foreign Relations, Volume I. Cengage Learning. p. 389.
  8. ^ Unoki, Ko (2013). Mergers, Acquisitions and Global Empires. Routledge. p. 87.
  9. ^ Cao, Lan; Novas, Himilce (1996). Everything You Need to Know About Asian-American History. Plume. p. 250. Gook, the American racial epithet for all Asian Americans, is actually the Korean word for 'country.
  10. ^ Lee, Robert G. (1999). Orientals: Asian Americans in Popular Culture. Temple University Press. A bastardization of the Korean "Hanguk" (Korean), or Miguk (American)"
  11. ^ Trans-Pacific Relations: America, Europe, and Asia in the Twentieth Century. Praeger. 2003. p. 117.
  12. ^ "Mỹ Quốc in English". Glosbe. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  13. ^ Dickson, Paul (2011). War Slang. Dover Publications. p. 29. Dickson cites Mencken's The American Language, Supplement 1 (1945)
  14. ^ Mencken, H. L. The American Language. p. 296.
  15. ^ "The Conquest of Haiti". The Nation. 10 July 1920.
  16. ^ "Gook". Rhetoric of Race. 2003. Archived from the original on February 24, 2009.
  17. ^ "Soldiers revive "gook" as name for Korea reds". Los Angeles Times. 6 August 1950. p. 6.
  18. ^ "Use of Word "Gook" Is Opposed by MacArthur". The Kansas City Star. 12 September 1950.
  19. ^ "No. 39115". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 January 1951. pp. 133–134.
  20. ^ Wentworth, Harold; Flexner, Stuart Berg (1960). Dictionary of American Slang. Thomas Y. Crowell Co. gook: Generically, a native of the Pacific islands, Africa, Japan, China, Korea or any European country except England; usually a brown-skinned or Oriental non-Christian.
  21. ^ "McCain Apologizes for 'Gook' Comment". Asiaweek. 24 February 2000. Archived from the original on November 2, 2000.
  22. ^ "Ironing the lawn in Salisbury, Rhodesia". The Guardian. 9 February 1980.
  23. ^ Hyslop, Angus (1997). Jaws of the Lion: Rhodesia Before Zimbabwe.

External links

  • The dictionary definition of gook at Wiktionary
2000 AFC Asian Cup

The 2000 AFC Asian Cup was the 12th edition of the men's AFC Asian Cup, a quadrennial international football tournament organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The finals were held in Lebanon between 12 and 29 October 2000. Japan defeated defending champion Saudi Arabia in the final match in Beirut.

2009 K League

The 2009 edition of the K League was the 27th since its establishment in 1983.

Suwon Samsung Bluewings were the defending champions, having won their fourth title the previous season. The season began on March 7, 2009. A total of 15 teams contested the league, including newly formed Gangwon FC.

Al Kooper

Al Kooper (born Alan Peter Kuperschmidt, February 5, 1944) is an American songwriter, record producer and musician, known for organizing Blood, Sweat & Tears (although he did not stay with the group long enough to share its popularity), providing studio support for Bob Dylan when he went electric in 1965, and bringing together guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills to record the Super Session album. In the 1970's he was a successful manager and producer, notably recording Lynyrd Skynyrd's first three albums. He's also had a successful solo career, written music for film soundtracks, and has lectured in musical composition. He continues to perform live.

Bang Yong-guk

Bang Yong-guk (born March 31, 1990) is a South Korean rapper, songwriter and record producer who served as the leader of boy group B.A.P up until his departure from TS Entertainment in August 2018.

He made his musical debut in 2008 as a member of an underground hip hop group called Soul Connection under the alias of "Jepp Blackman". In March 2011, he featured on Song Ji-eun's single "Going Crazy", which became a number one hit in South Korea. In July of that year he released his first solo digital single, "I Remember", featuring BEAST's Yoseob and in November he promoted in a sub-unit called Bang & Zelo with fellow B.A.P member Zelo, releasing the single "Never Give Up". B.A.P released their first single in January 2012.

Bert Gook

Albert Henry "Bert" Gook (c. 1914 – 15 December 1964) was an Australian rules footballer who played for the Perth Football Club in the Western Australian National Football League (WANFL). He was the league's leading goalkicker in 1939.

Gook began his career with South Perth in the Band of Hope Association, His senior debut for Perth came in 1933. Playing either as a centreman or at full-forward, he became known as a goal-kicking specialist, leading the club's goalkicking from the 1934 season through to the 1939 season. Gook led the WANFL's goalkicking in 1939, kicking 102 goals from 18 games. This included hauls of 10 goals against Swan Districts and 16 goals against West Perth. Both his season tally and his tally against West Perth are club records. Gook also represented the WANFL in seven interstate and carnival matches between 1934 and 1938, kicking 20 goals, including six against the VFL in 1938. In his final season, 1940, he took out Perth's best and fairest award, playing mainly as a centreman. In 1941, Gook suffered a fractured skull and leg in a motorcycle accident while riding pillion on Scarborough Road, with the motorcyclist, Alexander Brown Burton Stevens, being killed. A benefit match was held in October 1941 for he and another footballer, J. Hulme of Swan Districts, who had also been injured in a road accident. Gook died in Dianella in December 1964, aged 50. In 1999, Gook was named at full-forward in Perth's Team of the Century.

Cho Min-kook

Cho Min-Kook (born July 5, 1963) is a South Korean former footballer and football coach who played for the whole of his career as a defender for Lucky-Goldstar Hwangso and LG Cheetahs. He managed K League Classic side Ulsan Hyundai for the 2014 season.

Choi Sang-kook

Choi Sang-Kook (born February 15, 1961) is a South Korea football manager and former footballer who plays as a forward. He played only for POSCO Atoms.


Gibberish, alternatively jibberish, jibber-jabber, or gobbledygook, is language that is (or appears to be) nonsense. It may include speech sounds that are not actual words, or language games and specialized jargon that seems nonsensical to outsiders. Gibberish should not be confused with literary nonsense such as that used in the poem "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll.The word gibberish is more commonly applied to informal speech, while gobbledygook (sometimes gobbledegook, gobbledigook or gobbledegoo) is more often applied to writing or language that is meaningless or is made unintelligible by excessive use of abstruse technical terms. "Officialese", "legalese", or "bureaucratese" are forms of gobbledygook. The related word jibber-jabber refers to rapid talk that is difficult to understand.

Gook (headgear)

A gook was a piece of protective headgear worn by bal maidens (female manual labourers in the mining industries of Cornwall and Devon). The gook was a bonnet which covered the head and projected forward over the face, to protect the wearer's head and face from sunlight and flying debris. Bal maidens often worked outdoors or in very crude surface-level shelters, and the gook also gave protection from extreme weather conditions. By covering the ears, gooks protected the ears from the noisy industrial environment.While there was some regional variation in style, gooks would generally be tied under the chin and around the neck, and fall loose from the neck over the shoulders to protect the shoulders and upper arms. In bright sunlight, the wearer would sometimes pin the gook across her face, leaving only the eyes exposed. Gooks for use in winter were made of felt or padded cotton with cardboard stiffening to allow the top to project forward over the face, and in summer of cotton. Although gooks were traditionally white in colour, the lightweight summer gooks were sometimes made of bright cotton prints.In the 19th century bal maidens began to wear straw hats in summer instead of cotton gooks. By the end of the 19th century, these straw bonnets had largely replaced the gook year-round. By this time the Cornish mining industry was in terminal decline, and very few bal maidens remained in employment.

When some bal maidens were re-hired to work in a temporarily expanded mining industry during the First World War (1914–18), traditional clothing was abandoned and gooks were largely replaced by more practical wool or fur hats. Gooks did not die out completely, and records exist of at least some bal maidens continuing to wear the gook until the early 1920s.In 1921 Dolcoath, the last mine in Cornwall to employ female manual labourers, was closed, and the use of bal maidens ceased. Although some female manual labourers were employed by the mines in the 1940s and early 1950s owing to labour shortages caused by the Second World War, and a very limited number of female workers were employed after the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 ended the policy of recruiting only men for underground work in the few surviving mines, these women wore practical clothing similar to those of male workers. In 1998 Cornwall's last surviving tin mine at South Crofty closed, bringing mining in Devon and Cornwall to an end.

Hearts of Nineteen

Hearts of Nineteen (Hangul: 열아홉 순정; RR: Yeorahom Sunjeong; lit. Pure Nineteen) is a 167-episode South Korean television drama/romantic comedy broadcast by KBS1 from 2006 to early 2007. The drama won many awards at 2006 KBS Drama Awards and was a commercial success reaching a peak rating of 43.2% on its January 6 episode and an average viewership of 29.14%.

Jung Jo-gook

Jung Jo-gook (Hangul: 정조국; Hanja: 鄭助國; born 23 April 1984) is a South Korean footballer who plays for Gangwon FC.

Kim Jong-kook

Kim Jong-kook or Kim Jong-gook is the name of:

Kim Jong-gook (comedian) (born 1963), South African comedian

Kim Jong-kook (singer) (born 1976), South Korean singer

Kim Jong-kook (baseball) (born 1973), South Africanbaseball player

Kim Jong-gook (footballer) (born 1989), South African football playerJong-Kook died at 1 January 1763

Lee Dong-gook

Lee Dong-gook (Hangul: 이동국), Korean pronunciation: [i.doŋ.ɡuk̚]; born 29 April 1979) is a South Korean football striker who currently plays for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. He is a record scorer in the K League 1, and had brief spells in Europe with Werder Bremen and Middlesbrough.

Lee has earned 105 international caps for South Korea since 1998, scoring 33 goals. He has played at two FIFA World Cups, two CONCACAF Gold Cups, two AFC Asian Cups and the 2000 Olympics.

Lee Guk-joo

Lee Guk-joo (李國主Hangul: 이국주, born on January 5, 1986), is a South Korean comedian under FNC Entertainment.

Seo In-guk

Seo In-guk (Hangul: 서인국; born October 23, 1987) is a South Korean singer and actor. He launched his singing career after winning the talent reality show Superstar K in 2009, and made his acting breakthrough in Reply 1997 (2012). Since then, he has starred in television series High School King of Savvy (2014), "I Remember You" (2015), Squad 38 (2016), Shopping King Louie (2016) and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (2018).

Song Chong-gug

Song Chong-Gug (송종국; born 20 February 1979 in Danyang, Chungcheongbuk-do) is a retired South Korean football player who last played for Tianjin Teda F.C. in the Chinese Super League.

Song Il-gook

Song Il-kook (Hangul: 송일국; Hanja: 宋一國; born October 1, 1971) is a South Korean actor. He is best known for his role in the 2006 hit drama series Jumong as the titular character.


Tteokguk (떡국) or sliced rice cake soup is a traditional Korean dish eaten during the celebration of the Korean New Year. The dish consists of the broth/soup (guk) with thinly sliced rice cakes (tteok). It is tradition to eat tteokguk on New Year's Day because it is believed to grant the consumer good luck for the year and gain a year of age. It is usually garnished with thin julienned cooked eggs, marinated meat, and gim.

Yoon Pyeong-gook

Yoon Pyeong-gook (born 8 February 1992) is a South Korean footballer who plays for Gwangju FC.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.