Jinx (1907, 1909, 1910)

Sat Jan 24 01:28:45 UTC 2004

        Here's another jinx/jinks cite.  This is from an 1898 Oregon case and refers to events sometime between 1874 and 1893:  "He said: 'By the Jinks, I have got a nephew that, whenever I get sick and send for him, he comes. *** Whenever I need him, I send for him, and he comes.' And he said when he was done, or died, his nephew got everything he had."  Rose v. Oliver, 32 Or. 447, 52 P. 176 (Feb. 28, 1898).

        It seems clear to me that the mild oath "by the Jinks" refers to the devil.  That makes it a plausible source for jinx=hoodoo, especially since many of the early uses in that sense are in baseball cartoons showing the jinx to be a devil.  This leaves unanswered the question how jinks=devil arose.

John Baker

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