Origin of high jinks
Words nearby high jinks
What does high jinks mean?
High jinks means playful, mischievous, or rowdy activity.
It is also commonly spelled hijinks. Both spellings of the word are used with a plural verb, as in My cousins’ high jinks are legendary.
High jinks usually implies a combination of fun and mischief. Activities that are called high jinks are often silly and mischievous and they may be rowdy, but they’re usually not harmful. They include things like minor pranks or the kinds of activities done during a happily unrestrained celebration. Sometimes, the term refers to a series of silly or chaotic events or interactions. This is especially the case in the phrase high jinks ensue, as in The movie is about a man who has to adopt 11 ostriches—high jinks ensue.
However, high jinks is sometimes used in a more negative way to refer to mischief or wrongdoing that’s absurd or incompetent, as in The administration is up to its usual high jinks again—luckily they’re too inept to pull any of it off.
Example: As a substitute teacher, I know exactly what kind of high jinks students will participate in when they think they can get away with it.
Where does high jinks come from?
The first records of the term high jinks come from right around 1700. Originally, the term referred to a kind of drinking game. The word jinks (a plural of jink) means “prankish or mischievous activities.” It may derive from a word meaning “to gasp violently,” perhaps in reference to intense laughter. The Old English word cincung, meaning “boisterous laughter,” may be related.
High jinks often refers to the kind of playful activities that end up with the participants laughing themselves silly. The word almost always implies some level of mischief or rowdiness. It is particularly associated with pranks, but usually the kind of pranks that the pranked person can also laugh at.
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How is high jinks used in real life?
High jinks is informal and is most commonly used in the context of lighthearted situations. It’s commonly spelled hijinks.
#Halloween is the perfect day to look back on some of our staff high jinks and #pranks, and there have been quite a few! Do you remember when we plastic wrapped our Head of Education Brian Cofrancesco's desk? He sure does! #CTOldStateHouse pic.twitter.com/WREK8I4bTl
— Connecticut's Old State House (@CTOldStateHouse) October 31, 2019
— CNET (@CNET) April 1, 2014
Anyone want to be in cahoots with me? Which high jinks will ensue is TBD.
— SpacedMom (@copymama) August 1, 2017
Try using high jinks!
Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of high jinks?
How to use high jinks in a sentence
Eric Garcetti succeeded Villaraigosa and has received high marks in his first year and a half on the job.The Golden State Preps for the ‘Red Wedding’ of Senate Races|David Freedlander|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Nor does the jet have the ability to capture high-definition video, utilize an infra-red pointer.
Obsessive exercising and inadequate nutrition can, over time, put people at high risk for overuse injuries like stress fractures.How Skinny Is Too Skinny? Israel Bans ‘Underweight’ Models|Carrie Arnold|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
The most recent activity had a high point of 3.6 on the Richter Scale.26 Earthquakes Later, Fracking’s Smoking Gun Is in Texas|James Joiner|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
He felt his body grow limp (like one of those high-speed films of a flower wilting).Powerful Congressman Writes About ‘Fleshy Breasts’|Asawin Suebsaeng|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Honour the physician for the need thou hast of him: for the most High hath created him.
The most High hath created medicines out of the earth, and a wise man will not abhor them.
The Majesty on high has a colony and a people on earth, which otherwise is under the supremacy of the Evil One.Solomon and Solomonic Literature|Moncure Daniel Conway
In cross-section the burrows varied from round (three inches in diameter) to oval (three inches high and four inches wide).Summer Birds From the Yucatan Peninsula|Erwin E. Klaas
As Spain, however, has fallen from the high place she once held, her colonial system has also gone down.
British Dictionary definitions for high jinks
Other Idioms and Phrases with high jinks
Playful or rowdy activity, often involving mischievous pranks. For example, All sorts of high jinks go on at summer camp after “lights out.” About 1700 this term denoted a gambling game accompanied by much drinking, but by the mid-1800s it acquired its present meaning.