[ jingk ]
/ dʒɪŋk /
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jinks, prankish or frolicsome activities.
British Dialect. chink2
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Origin of jink

1690–1700; variant of dial. chink to gasp violently; compare Old English cincung boisterous laughter
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does jink mean?

The noun jink is most often used in the plural form jinks to refer to prankish or mischievous activities.

Jinks is rarely used, except for in the much more common term high jinks (also commonly spelled hijinks), which refers to playful, mischievous, or rowdy activity.

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. 

The word jink can also be used as a verb meaning to move quickly or in a jerky motion to elude or avoid something. It can also be used as a noun referring to such a movement. These senses of the word are also not commonly used. A much more common word that means the same thing is juke.

The plural jinks should not be confused with the word jinx, which can be a noun referring to something that brings bad luck or a verb meaning to bring bad luck to—to place a jinx on.

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 jink come from?

The first records of the word jink in reference to mischievous behavior come from right around 1700. This sense of the word 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 jink used in real life?

Jink is rarely used outside of the term high jinks. 


Try using jink!

True or False? 

Jink can be used as a verb meaning to move in a jerky motion.

How to use jink in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for jink

/ (dʒɪŋk) /

to move swiftly or jerkily or make a quick turn in order to dodge or elude
a jinking movement

Word Origin for jink

C18: of Scottish origin, imitative of swift movement
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