- (slang, chiefly US) An illegal immigrant of any country.
Origins are unknown, but definitely predate the use of metal flashlights, contrary to the most quoted description of origin.
It's probable that the origin is related to Chinese immigration, as the first law to restrict immigration from a particular country was enacted in 1882 to limit the numbers of Chinese coming to the United States. It's said that many of the illegal immigrants made their way to the US via the Gulf of Tonkin area of what is now Vietnam. It's also possible that the term is related to the Chinese "tong" mob.
- (slang) An item of value, or of perceived value, especially for sale.
- How much tonk have we got to shift?