What is the origin of the word ‘jink’?

The word jink, meaning ‘to change direction suddenly and nimbly, as when dodging a pursuer’, is Scots in origin. It developed from the phrase high jinks, which refers to antics at drinking parties. These high jinks usually consisted of throwing dice to decide who should perform a silly task to amuse the others in the company, or who should drink a large draught of alcohol; a forfeit was involved. The word is probably symbolic of nimble motion. Current senses associated with a sudden change in direction date from the 18th century.

From Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins ©2010.

 

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