\ ˈjiŋk How to pronounce jink (audio) \
jinked; jinking; jinks

Definition of jink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to move quickly or unexpectedly with sudden turns and shifts (as in dodging)



Definition of jink (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a quick evasive turn : slip
2 jinks plural : pranks, frolics especially : high jinks

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for jink

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?


The investigation into the origins of jink begins with documents from 18th century Scotland. Unfortunately, they contain no clear indication of how this shifty little word was formed. What can be said with certainty is that the word has always expressed a quick or unexpected motion. For instance, in two poems from 1785, Robert Burns uses the verb to indicate both the quick motion of a fiddler's elbow and the sudden disappearance of a cheat around a corner. In the 20th century, the verb caught on with air force pilots and rugby players, who began using it to describe their elusive maneuvers to dodge opponents and enemies. Jink can also be used as a noun meaning "a quick evasive turn" or, in its plural form, "pranks." (Etymologists are quite certain that the latter use is connected with the term high jinks.)

Examples of jink in a Sentence

Verb jinking here and there with remarkable agility, the thieving urchin frustrated all attempts to catch him
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That early pressure told within five minutes, as Ben Youngs emerged from the maul with ball in hand, jinked his way past two All Blacks players and went over to score the England's second try. Matias Grez, CNN, "England stuns New Zealand to book its place in the Rugby World Cup final," 26 Oct. 2019 The Italian jinked his way into a pocket of space outside the Liverpool 18-yard-box before curling the ball into the far corner, beyond the reach of Simon Mignolet. SI.com, "Liverpool 0-3 Napoli: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Gli Azzurri Pick Apart Lethargic Reds," 28 July 2019 Nolberto Solano and Laurent Robert jinking down the wings, Alan Shearer scoring goals for fun. SI.com, "Newcastle: 10 Managerial Candidates Mike Ashley (Probably) Considered Before Steve Bruce," 19 July 2019 However, Italy responded impressively and drew level in the 28th minute when Emerson jinked his way down the left flank before crossing for Andrea Belotti, who finished from close range. SI.com, "Armenia 1-3 Italy: Report, Ratings & Reaction as the Azzurri Cruise Past Ten-Men," 5 Sep. 2019 With the match starting to slow down, the youngster jinked past a couple of would-be tacklers and unleashed a swerving effort from 25 yards. SI.com, "Bayern Munich 2-2 Hertha Berlin: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Champions Frustrated in Opener," 16 Aug. 2019 After Harry Kane missed a penalty, Salah produced a piece of magic in the 91st minute worthy of winning any game, jinking in-between numerous Spurs defenders and chipping it over Hugo Lloris in true 'Lionel Messi' fashion. SI.com, "Mo Salah Makes Young Fan's Day Despite Crushing Late Kane Penalty in Draw With Tottenham," 5 Feb. 2018 The Algerian jinked for space on the right side and cut back onto his left foot, before curling a wonderful cross to the back post. SI.com, "Leicester 1-0 Sheffield United: Vardy's Header the Difference as Foxes Fly Into FA Cup Last 8," 16 Feb. 2018 Butragueno was now toying with the Danish defence, turning and jinking. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 8 Weeks to Go - Emilio 'the Vulture' Butragueño Picks Apart Denmark," 29 Apr. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His first of the game was a long range effort that flew into the top corner, his second a jink and finish from just inside the penalty area reminiscent of Paul Scholes. SI.com, "James Garner Will Be Next Man Utd Starlet to Break Through as Club Stands by Youth Policy," 13 Aug. 2019 There are no such hi-jinks so far for the 2019 Raiders. Jerry Mcdonald, The Mercury News, "Eight practices, no fights? Why Raiders are pulling their punches," 5 Aug. 2019 This fall, Family Guy will unleash a new season of animated jinks both high and low. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "Family Guy season 18 trailer: See Peter with Beavis & Butt-head, Quagmire with too many cats," 20 July 2019 No athletes sent home following a night of drunken high-jinks as snowboarder Scotty Lago was in 2010. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Americans well behaved at Olympics following previous incidents," 21 Feb. 2018 Last Call: Catch the hilarious hi-jinks of the Last Call Cleveland sketch comedy troupe in four performances at the Outcalt Theatre in Playhouse Square. Michael K. Mcintyre, cleveland.com, "Jay Larson tells stories with punchlines and poignancy at Hilarities this weekend," 18 Jan. 2018 Which is exactly what Logan Lucky delivers, an engaging and self-aware retread of past high jinks. Richard Lawson, HWD, "Logan Lucky Review: A Southern-Fried Ocean’s Eleven That Goes Down Easy," 26 July 2017 Against the vibrant sights and jazzy sounds of the city’s music scene, raunchy high jinks ensue, old grudges resurface and the enduring power of friendship is both tested and reasserted. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Tiffany Haddish is a comic revelation in the sweet, sexy and hilarious 'Girls Trip'," 20 July 2017 Connecticut Repertory Theatre has assembled a confident, contortionist cast to attempt this high-wire act of low-brow high jinks. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "CT Rep's Uneven 'Noises Off' Is Exceptional," 19 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jink.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of jink


1785, in the meaning defined above


1786, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for jink


origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about jink

Listen to Our Podcast about jink

Statistics for jink

Cite this Entry

“Jink.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jink. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on jink

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jink

Comments on jink

What made you want to look up jink? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!