Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Tue Jan 1 20:20:35 UTC 2002

As I recall, my sister-in-law used "binky" with her kids (and they did with
their kids, I believe), and I think I've heard it elsewhere too.  When my
son was born, the "in" brand was Nuk, from Germany?  So the Binky brand
(generalized to binky) may have preceded the Nuk (and presumably others).

By the way, "pickanniny" (which you may have meant by 'pinkeny'?) did
indeed come from Spanish "pequeno" (assume tilde) or its Portuguese
equivalent, to mean "little one," and it was adopted by English-based
creoles.  But I don't think we have to stretch this to include "pink" (and
why a Dutch link?).  The "binkie/pinkie" connection makes some sense though.

At 08:42 AM 1/1/02 -0500, you wrote:
>>... now I wonder whether there was a pre-existing word "binky". ....
>A good question. I don't find this in any of my books. One might check the
>English Dialect Dictionary and maybe the big Scottish National Dictionary
>(I don't have these myself ... maybe next time I drop by the big library ...).
>In Scots there's apparently "bink" = "bench"/"shelf"/"cupboard"/etc. ...
>not very promising. There's also "whistle-binkie", which I see defined as a
>peripheral attendee at a penny wedding [i.e., a wedding with an admission
>charge ... which he has not paid], an idle spectator ... here presumably
>"binkie" has/had some meaning, but I don't know for sure what (but see below).
>My casual conjecture is that "binky" originally meant something small,
>either "baby" or "little finger". I see Binky/Binkie as a nickname on the
>Web and as a name for small pets: Binky the Bunny or Binky the Kitty
>perhaps (not Binky the Killer Whale). I wonder whether this could have been
>a version of "pinkie", Scots for small things including the little finger,
>and similar to older English words along the line of "pinkeny" used as pet
>names or so. [A wild speculation which may be instantly disprovable by an
>expert: could "pink" and its relatives such as this one come (through
>Dutch) from Spanish "pequeño"?] "Binky" might be a baby-talk version. Also
>note that one's pinkie can serve as a binky in an emergency.
>I note the Scots expression "whustle one's thoum" = "whistle [on] one's
>thumb" = "twiddle one's thumbs" = "be idle" or so ... very similar to the
>activities of the whistle-binkie at the penny wedding ... maybe he's
>whistling on his pinkie?
>-- Doug Wilson

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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