One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
What is the origin of the word ‘jink’?
The word jink, meaning ‘to change direction suddenly and nimbly, as when dodging a pursuer’, is Scots in origin. It developed from the phrase high jinks, which refers to antics at drinking parties. These high jinks usually consisted of throwing dice to decide who should perform a silly task to amuse the others in the company, or who should drink a large draught of alcohol; a forfeit was involved. The word is probably symbolic of nimble motion. Current senses associated with a sudden change in direction date from the 18th century.
From Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins ©2010.
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