[ ring-kee-tingk ]

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Word History and Origins

Origin of rinky-tink1

1960–65; perhaps blend of ricky-tick and rinky-dink


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More About Rinky Tink

What does rinky-tink mean?

Rinky-tink means corny or outdated. It can be used to describe the kinds of things that seem a bit old-fashioned and silly because they come from another era.

The similar term rinky-dink can be used to mean the same thing, but it more commonly means inferior, amateurish, or small-time.

The term ricky-tick can also be used to mean the same thing as rinky-tink.

Both rinky-tink and ricky-tick can also be (and were originally) used to describe the mechanical, repetitive style and beat of ragtime or early swing music. Both terms can also be used as nouns to refer to such music.

Example: His act is a bit rinky-tink, if you ask me, but I guess that’s what his audience wants to see.

Where does rinky-tink come from?

The first records of the term rinky-tink come from the early 1900s. It may be a blend of phrases ricky-tick and rinky-dink.

The term ricky-tick is thought to be imitative of the kind of ragtime music it refers to, which is known for its strict two-four time, steady syncopation, and jangling piano sound. Ragtime was developed around 1900 and was especially popularized by Scott Joplin.

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What are some synonyms for rinky-tink?

What are some words that often get used in discussing rinky-tink?

What are some words rinky-tink may be commonly confused with?

How is rinky-tink used in real life?

Rinky-tink is not commonly used. When it is, it’s often used in the context of music.

Try using rinky-tink!

Is rinky-tink used correctly in the following sentence?

I love the rinky-tink sound of tinny old player pianos.