One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Elaborate decoration or detail.
- ‘Ay, here's none of your straight lines here, but all taste, zig-zag, crinkum-crankum, in and out, right and left, so and again, twisting like a worm.’
- ‘The crackle-glaze boulder shapes, the crinkum-crankum ledges, the skewed pagoda silhouettes of the mountains belonged to no Occidental geography.’
Mid 17th century: fanciful reduplication of the nouns crank and crank.
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