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  1. a crack, cleft, or fissure: a chink in a wall.
  2. a narrow opening: a chink between two buildings.
verb (used with object)
  1. to fill up chinks in.

Origin of chink1

1350–1400; Middle English; perhaps chine1 + -k suffix (see -ock)


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1. breach, rent, cut.


verb (used with or without object)
  1. to make, or cause to make, a short, sharp, ringing sound, as of coins or glasses striking together.
  1. a chinking sound: the chink of ice in a glass.
  2. Slang. coin or ready cash.

Origin of chink2

First recorded in 1565–75; imitative
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for chinking

Historical Examples

  • The roof and floor was gone, but the walls needed only chinking.

    Child and Country

    Will Levington Comfort

  • “Indeed but I shall not,” replied Dan, chinking it as he spoke.

    The Little Quaker

    Susan Moodie

  • There was no chinking of bits, no jingling of spurs, no clanking of sabres.

    The White Chief

    Mayne Reid

  • I sure do love every log and daub of chinking in that cabin.

    Connie Morgan in Alaska

    James B. Hendryx

  • Snedeker had covered his roofs with the same material he used for chinking.

    The Lost Wagon

    James Arthur Kjelgaard

British Dictionary definitions for chinking


  1. a small narrow opening, such as a fissure or crack
  2. chink in one's armour a small but fatal weakness
  1. (tr) mainly US and Canadian to fill up or make cracks in
Derived Formschinky, adjective

Word Origin

C16: perhaps variant of earlier chine, from Old English cine crack; related to Middle Dutch kene, Danish kin


  1. to make or cause to make a light ringing sound, as by the striking of glasses or coins
  1. such a sound

Word Origin

C16: of imitative origin


taboo Chinky (ˈtʃɪŋkɪ)

noun, adjective plural Chinks or Chinkies
  1. an old-fashioned and highly derogatory term for Chinese

Word Origin

C20: probably from Chinese, influenced by chink 1 (referring to the characteristic shape of the Chinese eye)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for chinking



"a split, crack," 1530s, with parasitic -k + Middle English chine (and replacing this word) "fissure, narrow valley," from Old English cinu, cine "fissure," related to cinan "to crack, split, gape," common Germanic (cf. Old Saxon and Old High German kinan, Gothic uskeinan, German keimen "to germinate;" Middle Dutch kene, Old Saxon kin, German Keim "germ;" ), from PIE root *geie- "to sprout, split open." The connection being in the notion of bursting open.



"a Chinaman," 1901, derogatory, perhaps derived somehow from China, or else from chink (n.1) with reference to eye shape.



"sharp sound" (especially of coin), 1580s, probably imitative. As a verb from 1580s. Related: Chinked; chinking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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