A policy wonk is a person who takes an avid interest in political policy in all of its detail. That interest can take an active form, beyond study, of developing policy and strategies. The term dates from the 1980s as a coinage of "wonk", a word meaning a studious person or nerd.
"The Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom is said to love talking about every detail of running his city. And now he's found a way to make sure that everyone in the world can hear him. NPR's Richard Gonzales reports.
GONZALES: Mayor Newsom is legally obliged to deliver the State of the Union address in October with the arrival of the new fiscal year. But it comes late this year, and the tech-savvy mayor bristled at having to limit his remarks before a live audience to one hour, says his press secretary Nathan Ballard:
BALLARD: He's a policy wonk. He wants to go to the transportation advocates and say, 'Hey, here's what we're doing to improve MUNI. And that takes almost an hour just by itself.'"
Ayto, J., & Crofton, I. (2006). Brewer's dictionary of modern phrase & fable. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Gonzales, R. (2008, December 2). Calif. Mayor Uses YouTube For Annual Address : NPR. Retrieved from