\ 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

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Synonyms for jink

Synonyms: Verb

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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 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 The fourth goal came from the same source–a long ball flicked on with his heel by Trent Alexander-Arnold for Salah, who jinked by Jesus and crossed for Firmino to tap in his 50th Liverpool goal. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "Salah, Liverpool Overwhelm Roma, But Leave Door Open for Another UCL Comeback," 24 Apr. 2018 Bolasie jinked inside, curled a cross towards the far post for Walcott and Bong, in an attempt to prevent the forward notching, guided the ball past Ryan. SI.com, "Everton Ends Brighton's Unbeaten Run in Dominant Goodison Display," 10 Mar. 2018 But Watford was back in front two minutes later as Daryl Janmaat collected the ball on the right before jinking into the box, exchanging passes with Roberto Pereyra and keeping his cool to finish past Courtois. USA TODAY, "Chelsea's Premier League struggles continue in rout to Watford," 5 Feb. 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.

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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

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Last Updated

29 Sep 2019

Time Traveler for jink

The first known use of jink was in 1785

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not being in agreement or harmony

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