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old cars


clunker = (alte) Klapperkiste, Klapperkarren; Flop, Reinfall



“Colorado revives ‘Cash for CLUNKERS’, offers $6,000 for an old car you trade for an EV. Piling clunker credits on top of existing state and federal electric vehicle rebates can land you a very, very cheap new car.”

Michael Booth — The Colorado Sun (29th August 2023)

"Given the success of ‘Cash for CLUNKERS’, the government will introduce a sequel that one observer called ‘Dollars for Dishwashers’. That's not really the name, but it's better than ‘CLUNKERS, Part Deux’. ”

Jill Schlesinger — CBS News, 'Dump The Pump' (27th August 2009)

Did you

colloquial noun

- an old vehicle or machine in bad condition

-  an old machine in poor repair, esp. a noisy, dilapidated automobile

- something very bad in quality or completely unsuccessful

The Cambridge Dictionary / Collins Dictionary


The word "clunker" first appeared in the 1930s, with the Oxford English Dictionary's earliest citation being in the Seattle Daily Times.

Some linguists suggest "clunker" likely originated as an onomatopoeic word, imitating the clanking or clunking sound made by an old, rickety car or machine.

Its meaning then extended more broadly to refer to any old, rundown or inferior object or product, beyond just cars.


- Step on the brakes = to slow down (We have to step on the brakes, our expenditures are exceeding our income.)

- Be in the driver's seat = to be in control of a situation (After years of working for others, she finally launched her own business and was back in the driver's seat.)

- Take over the wheel = to assume control of a situation (Bob is off sick this week, I have to ask you to take over the wheel until he returns.)

- Shift gears = to change course or strategy (After the product launch flopped, the company had to shift gears and focus on a new marketing campaign.)

- Run on empty = to be almost out of energy or resources (We’re running on empty, our budget for this project is almost spent.)

- Drive up the wall = to annoy or frustrate someone intensely (Jim is a proper kvetcher, his constant complaining is driving me up the wall!)

- Park it = to stop thinking about something or to abandon an idea (Let's just park this conversation for now and come back to it later.)

- Take a backseat = to become less involved or relinquish control (After the merger, the smaller company had to take a backseat to the larger one.)

- Ride shotgun = to be a passenger in the front seat of a car, often in a position of trust or assistance (Let me take over the driving on this trip and you ride shotgun.)

- Be on a collision course = to be heading towards a conflict or disagreement (The two companies seem to be on a collision course over their pricing strategies.)

- Buckle down = to prepare for a difficult or challenging time (We need to buckle down and work hard to meet this deadline.)

- Go the extra mile = to put in extra effort or do more than what is expected (He always goes the extra mile to help his customers.)


(old) banger, beater, bucket of bolts, clanker, clunkmobile, CLUNKER, crate, dilapidated vehicle, four-wheeled failure, hunk of junk, gas guzzler, heap, jalopy, junker, rattler, rattletrap, rolling wreck, rust bucket, stinkpot, wreck

SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation, say something like:

“The ‘Cash for CLUNKERS’ programme burned through its initial $1 billion funding in just one week due to overwhelming demand — so Congress had to scramble to approve an additional $2 billion to keep it going through its scheduled end date.”

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