Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 18, 2020 is:
jink • JINK • verb
: to move quickly or unexpectedly with sudden turns and shifts (as in dodging)
“Two fighters immediately launched missiles, and the American aircraft jinked up, then down to lose them.” — Tom Clancy, Red Storm Rising, 1986
“Indeed there have been enough moments where he has jinked away from opponents or worked half a yard with his lightning-quick feet to produce a plethora of YouTube compilations.” — Alex Richards, The Mirror (UK), 2 June 2020
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.