Jinks Hoodoo again

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Apr 10 19:42:38 UTC 2010

An earlier ex. of "Jinks Hoodoo":

1887 _St. Louis Globe-Democrat_ (Oct. 10) 6: George Woodward as _Dr.
Savage_, J. W. Summers as _Jinks Hoodoo_, and Bob Fraser as _Slaggers_ [or
perh. "Sluggers"- JL].

This comes from a review of a comedy called _Little Puck_, which later
played in Brooklyn in 1888 and on Broadway in 1890. It starred Frank Daniels
as "Packingham Giltedge." Acc. to the _Daily Inter Ocean_ (Chicago) (Sept.
20, 1887), the play premiered in Buffalo, N.Y., on Sept. 18, 1887.

Acc. to the _Atchison Daily Champion_ of Dec. 23, 1885, "Bronson Howard has
written a new play for Frank Daniels. It is called 'Little Puck' and is of
the 'Rag Baby' order."

_Little Puck_ was allegedly based on the novel, _Vice Versa_, by the English
novelist Frank Anstey. A search of a reprint at Amazon.com finds no exx. of
either "jinks" or "hoodoo" in Anstey's novel. GB offers no text of either
the novel or the play.

Regardless of OED/HDAS _jynx_, the name of "Jinks Hoodoo" is likely to have
been the immediate origin of the modern _jinx_. Howard may have been the
first to associate the name "Jinks" (cf. "Captain Jinks of the Horse
Marines") with the word _hoodoo_.  It seems that the name eventually came to
denote the concept by metonymy (or is it synecdoche?).

On Sat, Apr 10, 2010 at 2:03 PM, Douglas G. Wilson <douglas at nb.net> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
> Subject:      Jinks Hoodoo again
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Here is a transitional instance of "Jinks Hoodoo", the apparent ancestor
> of the modern word "jinx". From the "Chronicling America" site.
> ----------
> _Salt Lake Herald_ (Salt Lake City UT), 24 Dec. 1895: p. 8:
> <<But a whole page of Herald and Tribune notices combined could not have
> rescued the affair from the failure to which it was foredoomed when its
> management was entrusted to the hands of a "manager" who combined in so
> eminent a degree the qualities of a Jonah and a Jinks Hoodoo.>>
> ----------
> Apparently this writer perceived a distinction of some sort between "a
> Jinks Hoodoo" and "a Jonah" (which seem to have been at least near
> synonyms). Possibly he took "Jonah" to mean "one who carries bad luck
> for his companions" and "Jinks Hoodoo" to mean "one who carries bad luck
> for himself [too]"?
> -- Doug Wilson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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