/zink/ for "sink"--How widespread?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Thu Apr 10 03:46:45 UTC 2003

>How widespread is the pronunciation of /zink/ for "sink" (where dishes are

I don't recall ever hearing it myself.

Quick Web search indicates that the pronunciation "zinc" for "sink" is
considered by some to be a shibboleth of the Baltimore region, or the
MD/DE/VA region.

I find at a glance two instances of "sink" actually written "zinc", one
apparently from a Nebraskan in the 1940's, the other from Illinois in the

Possibilities would include pronunciation from German or perhaps from some
British dialect (?). However, if the /s/>/z/ is restricted to this single
word, I would speculate that the word might be in fact basically "zinc",
either because the word "sink" was taken to be an abbreviation of "zinc
basin" or "zincked tub" or something like that, or because "zinc sink" was
consciously contracted: back in the day, a zinc/zincked (i.e., galvanized)
sink was a conventional household/kitchen item, I believe.

-- Doug Wilson

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