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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

JINK, v.1, n.1, adv. Also jenk, jeenk, junk (Sc. 1841 Whistle-Binkie III. 69), and freq. form ¶jinkle. [dʒɪŋk, dʒɛŋk, Fif. + dʒəiŋk]

I. v. 1. intr. To turn quickly or move nimbly, e.g. to one side, so as to elude or dodge someone or to escape notice (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. With in or into: to make an unobtrusive entrance, to slink or slip aside into (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 30). Gen.Sc.Ayr. 1786 Burns Address to Deil xx.:
But faith! he'll turn a corner jinkan, An' cheat you yet.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 83:
An' wiss that honest sauls may jink Out o' their clutches.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxv.:
My lord couldna tak it weel your coming blinking and jinking in, in that fashion.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xiv.:
I now begoud to think it wad be as weel to gie the lads the slip . . . sae I jinkit into Geordie Allan's, at the West-Port.
Ags. 1834 A. Smart Rambling Rhymes 112:
Then jinkin out by bent an' brae, Where they are seen by no man.
Mry. 1858 A. Christie Mt. Strains 14:
The littlens in aneath were jinkin.
Gsw. 1933 F. Niven Mrs Barry 137:
The wind snatched a man's hat from his head, and Neill grinned with delight over the way in which it jinked from its pursuing owner.
Sc. 1946 B. Fergusson Wild Green Earth ii. xii.:
We . . . twisted and jinked among the trees at the end, and so were free of the air above the forest.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 50:
They wandered past drunken bodies and shameless couples, among family picnics and pedlars slyly jinking out of sight of roving elders.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 87:
"It winna jink awa frae me yonner," thocht Zeffirino. At thon verra meenit, the braze briered; syne frae neuks an crannies raise a raw o air bibbles that stoppit aa at eence, tae stert again someitherwyes. Sea-paps flichtered in howp.

Hence ppl.adj. jinked, moved to one side, out of alignment (see quot.).Edb.6 1944:
If two pairs of rails do not meet [in a horizontal plane] in a straight line they are described as jinked. If they fail to meet in the vertical plane they are natched.

2. To move quickly or suddenly, to dart about from side to side, to zig-zag, “to make quick motions” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 283; Sh., Abd., Ags., Ayr. 1959). Ppl.adj. jinket, zig-zag, uneven (Fif. 1959).Ayr. 1786 Burns Sc. Drink ii.:
O thou, my Muse! guid, auld Scotch Drink! Whether thro' wimplin worms thou jink, Or, richly brown, ream owre the brink.
Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems 23:
Faith! Patie's spool jinks thro' wi' wondrous micht.
Sc. 1819 Scott Letters (Cent. ed.) V. 348:
He came jinking over Bowden moor with daughters and ponies and god knows what.
m.Lth. 1870 J. Lauder Warblings 4:
The silver salmon shoot and jink In thy glassy deep.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 16, 134:
An' last o' a', ben-leather Tammie, Wha jinkit aff an' on the dram aye . . . Inside your modest-worded book, Whaur rhymes, like sang-birds, jink an' jouk The pages through.
Slg. 1902 W. C. Paterson Echoes 42:
An' wander in fancy by some windin' stream That jinkles in gladness through valley sae green.
Arg. 1917 A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 68:
An' this floo'r, noo ye mind me o't, A' fund on the road efter she jenkit past.
Abd. 1932 D. Campbell Bamboozled 19:
Roon the hairt o' me mem'ries aye keep jinkin' an' glintin' like gowden chippin's frae aff God's ain rainbow.

Ppl.adj. jinkin', darting; vbl.n. jinkin, a jolt; comb. jenk-amang-the-whins, an epithet of a flitting bird, in quot. a linnet.Ayr. 1789 D. Sillar Poems 43:
But, deil-ma'-care! ye'll get a jinkin' Will gar you glunch.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 185:
Lilt out, wee jenk-amang-the-whins, Though ilka buss out-by is dreepin'.
Sc. 1917 Chambers's Jnl. 432:
I see them in the jinkin', dancin' lowe — The leal and true, the cantie an' the kin'.

3. To move jerkily to and fro as when spinning or playing the violin; to play a violin briskly. Also ppl.adj.Sc. c.1730 J. Maidment Sc. Pasquils (1868) 341:
Raithie on his fiddle jinks Till all the trees dance round him.
Ayr. 1786 Burns To Major Logan iii.:
Hale be your heart! hale be your fiddle! Lang may your elbuck jink an' diddle.
Abd. 1801 W. Beattie Parings 11:
Troth the fiddler's jinked lang, An' tir'd our lasses.
Slk. 1824 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xii.:
She jinks away at the muckle wheel as she war spinning for a wager.
Clc. 1882 J. Walker Poems 29:
Set agog wi' tunefu' bustle Your jinkin' airms.

4. To jaunt, frolic, dance, ramble from place to place, esp. in search of amorous enjoyment (Cai., Kcb. 1959); to flirt (Rxb.4 1959).Sc. 1715 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 73:
Sic Dancing, and sic Jinkin . . . Whan Lasses were haff winkin.
Sc. 1750 A. Robertson Poems 44:
Let pass, let pass, The naughty Glass, And wisely fall a-jinking.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Ep. W. Simpson xii.:
And jinkin hares, in amorous whids, Their loves enjoy.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems I. 53:
I'd been wi' bonnie lasses jinkin.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1837) II. 275:
Decking out your bits o' mortal clay bodies, primming wi' your smiles and your dimples, and rinning jinking and jowking after the lads!
Cai. 1872 M. M'Lennan Peasant Life II. 34:
Yer sone wus hairstin' an' faistin' at auld Grants, an' jinkin' wi' his dochter.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders i.:
Yet here we were, jinking hand in hand under the trees in the moonlight.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 26:
The wee nickum, Love, cam' jinkin, here The nicht afore yestreen.
m.Sc. 1991 William J. Tait in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 46:
The cross-legged Joker jinks owerheid in a Cossack jig,
But doucely, doucely; the bus dunts slow tae a staund,

5. tr. To evade, dodge, elude, escape the notice of; hence to cheat, trick. Gen.Sc. Phr. to jink the schuil, to play truant (Abd., Fif. 1959).Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 159:
Tho' there the herds can jink the show'rs 'Mang thriving vines an' myrtle bow'rs.
Abd. 1777 R. Forbes Ulysses 15:
For Jove did jink Arcesius Upo' a noble lady.
Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 129:
But now 'twas time to jink the fray, The rival took his heels and ran.
Edb. 1862 J. Smith Poems 10:
Syne ca' the puir his brethren dear, But jink them on the Monday.
Lnk. 1881 A. Wardrop Poems 66:
The troots tae watch and minnows catch, That aften jinket me.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xxx.:
But thanks to you and Davie, I'll can jink him yet.
Sc. 1947 Scots Mag. (May) 98:
It is not so easy to “jink the gamey” as it was in those good old days.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 7:
The lichtsome loup o grailse, bairn's croon o curlin hair
Flaught'rin afore the win', jinkin its ilka jawp.
Ayr. 1998:
He aye jinks his duties.

6. To dandle, to move to and fro, or up and down, to cause to jink, jerk.Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems II. 16:
An' cheek-for-chow, outstript the wind, At ithers elbows jinkin The stoop that day!
Dmf. 1929 Sc. Readings (Paterson) 16:
He sat like a Merry Andra, jinkin' the wean on his knee.

II. adv. Suddenly, all of a sudden, with a jink, with a sudden insinuating movement.Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters x.:
When jink, at the old man's death, in stepped a nephew, and ousted the poo-oor fellow.

III. n. 1. (1) A quick or sudden twisting, tortuous movement, a jerk (Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; ne.Sc., Ags., m.Lth., Kcb. 1959). Also used fig.Ayr. 1882 A. L. Orr Laigh Flichts 118:
Fickle fortune's jinks Are like to drive us mad.
Kcb. 1912 A. Anderson Later Poems 187:
An' he would gi'e the bow a screw, An' then, wi' mony a jink an' sweep, Play till we daun'ered to oor beds.

Phr. to be on the jink, to be moving, on the move.Fif. 1841 C. Gray Lays 220:
The door is constant on the jink.

(2) A coil, twist, a kink. jinkies, nooks and crannies, hidie-holes (Abd. 1959).Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 10:
As he strak noo and dan i da crook-an-da-links. Whin da lad [the devil] swang his tail ita ean o his jinks.
Lnk. 1899 H. Muir Hamely Echoes 192:
We next reach the burn at the HanginShaw road, And fallow each jink and sma' bend.
Abd. 1952 Buchan Observer (15 Jan.):
There were no jinks and twitters in the furrow — [s]crats to catch the eye of the critic.

(3) A particular turn or point in a dispute.Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize I. xiv.:
At this jink o' their controversy, who should come into the house . . . but Winterton.

2. (1) The act of eluding someone, e.g. by making a quick turn (Sc. 1808 Jam.); as a game, in pl. (Lnl. 1880 T. Orrock Fortha's Lyrics 90, Lnl. 1959), or in dim. form jinkie, “a game among children, in which the others run round a table trying to catch one whose business is by quick turns to elude them” (Lth. 1825 Jam.; Abd., Per., m.Lth. 1959); a dodge, trick (Abd. 1959). Phrs. to gie the (a) jink, to give the slip; to play (the game of) jinks or jinkie, to dodge, play hide and seek.Ayr. 1786 Burns Sc. Bard i.:
Our Billie's gien us a' a jink, An' owre the Sea.
Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 57:
I swam the Tweed to gie their nose the jink, Syne shook my coat, an' aff what I could link.
Lth. 1885 J. Strathesk Blinkbonny 296:
The burn . . . amang the seggs plays jinkie.
Sc. 1897 L. Keith Bonnie Lady xiii.:
They played the game of jinks with a good deal of skill, each avoiding the other if he could.
Lth. 1916 J. Fergus Sodger 27:
An' whiles the mune plays jinks at me In through the skylicht up abune.

(2) By extension: a moment of relaxation or idleness or truancy.Rnf. 1889 D. Gilmour Paisley Weavers 15:
When everything failed to recall my interest and attention, “Tak a jink for five minutes” he would say.

3. A (playful) trick or frolic (Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh. 1959). Gen. in pl. (Abd. 1959).Edb. 1812 P. Forbes Poems 56:
Wi' ither moles I'm never seen, Wi' a' their jinks an' jirks.
Slk. 1828 Hogg in Edb. Liter. Jnl. (15 Nov.) 12:
I ken your pawky jinks an' jeering.
Abd. 1874 W. Scott Dowie Nicht 61:
Kate tauld the jinks Henritt had played.
Arg. 1906 H. Foulis Vital Spark ix.:
I wass only in fun, Colin; it wass a jeenk; it wass chust a bawr aalthegither.

Comb.: high (hoy, hy) jinks (jeenks), originally a drinking game (see 1721 quot.). Now current (and borrowed by Eng.) in the sense of “lively or boisterous sport . . . free or unrestrained merrymaking”. Also simply jinks (Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 146). See Hi, Hoy, v.1Sc. 1700 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 270:
Jan. 13: lost at Hoy jinks . . . 0. 2. 6.
Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I 11:
A drunken Game, or new Project to drink and be rich; thus, The Quaff or Cup is fill'd to the Brim, then one of the Company takes a Pair of Dice, and after crying Hy-jinks, he throws them out: The Number he casts up points out the Person must drink . . . or pay a small Forfeiture in Money . . . But if he forget to cry Hy-jinks he pays a Forfeiture into the Bank.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxxix.:
He'll be set down to High-Jinks by this time.
Sc. 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 97:
I shrewdly suspect Mr Ambrose is up to our high-jinks . . . I heard him geein . . . a sort of subpressed nicher, ahint the door.

[Orig. imit. of a quick movement; cf. the unnasalised form Jick.]

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"Jink v.1, n.1, adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jul 2024 <>



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