1 of 2


jinked; jinking; jinks

intransitive verb

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


2 of 2


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

Did you know?

Besides the fact that jink first appears in Scottish English, the exact origins of this shifty little word are unknown. 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 jink as a 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." The latter use was likely influenced by the term high jinks, which originally referred in the late 17th century to a Scottish drinking game and later came to refer to horseplay.

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
None of these changes affects the Chiron's remarkable docility at low speeds or its ability to jink into corners like a car of two-thirds its mass on the tight, two-lane French country roads near the Circuit Paul Ricard. Ben Oliver, Car and Driver, 30 Sep. 2021 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, 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, 28 July 2019 Nolberto Solano and Laurent Robert jinking down the wings, Alan Shearer scoring goals for fun. SI.com, 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, 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, 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, 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, 16 Feb. 2018
The line is played for high-jink amusement, but there’s a lurking horror to the broader situation. Vulture, 30 Aug. 2022 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, 13 Aug. 2019 There are no such hi-jinks so far for the 2019 Raiders. Jerry McDonald, The Mercury News, 5 Aug. 2019 This fall, Family Guy will unleash a new season of animated jinks both high and low. Dan Snierson, EW.com, 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, 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, 18 Jan. 2018 Which is exactly what Logan Lucky delivers, an engaging and self-aware retread of past high jinks. Richard Lawson, HWD, 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, 20 July 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'jink.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



origin unknown

First Known Use


1785, in the meaning defined above


1786, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of jink was in 1785


Dictionary Entries Near jink

Cite this Entry

“Jink.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jink. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

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