Word of the Day : August 16, 2014


verb JINK


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

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.")


"Two fighters immediately launched missiles, and the American aircraft jinked up, then down to lose them." - Tom Clancy, Red Storm Rising, 1986

"Robben jinked and juked his way down Holland’s right wing seemingly at will, leaving helpless defenders tackling air as he motored past them into open space." - Nicholas Nehamas and Jacob Feldman, The Miami Herald, July 14, 2014

Test Your Memory

Fill in the blanks to create a former Word of the Day that means "to scrape the ground instead of hitting the ball cleanly on a golf stroke": s_ _ a_f. The answer is …


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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