[lit-ideas] Re: Jink & Juke

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 11:11:51 -0700

Julie wrote

Okay -- I get a general sense of the meaning and understand the extrapolation to political maneuvering, but it isn't precise enough. There are a number of people on this list who likely can offer a better explanation -- what exactly is a "jink" and a "juke"? What do those words even mean? Anyone have a notion of the origin of the phrase?

As far as I know, these were originally terms in Rugby, and American football—and possibly association football. They refer to evasive maneuvers by the person carrying the ball to avoid a defender. They are frequently used (in the US) by sports announcers to describe the movements and running style of certain running backs (q.v.).

For example


"There are still areas where the players of the past were superior: not so much in speed on a straight line as in elusiveness. Wilkinson astonished everybody – this is not meant to depreciate him in any way – because what he did on Saturday was so rare in modern rugby, certainly in internationals. There is no need, however, to romanticise the past. Top-class exponents of the jink, the swerve and the side-step have always been rare creatures. Steve Fenwick and Ray Gravell, Wales' centres in the great days, were competent, but ordinary players, not manifestly superior to Mike Tindall, certainly not to Will Greenwood."



Simple explanation. A ball carrier runs straight at a defender in the open field, and at the last minute fakes the defender into thinking he will go right (e.g.) and goes left. Sometimes the runner will almost come to a complete stop and do a rapid little 'dance.' Juking is different from simply trying to bowl over the defender or run past him at an angle.

I'm sure the expression 'jinking and juking' originated in sports and was adopted by the military. Think of it as meaning 'quick, unpredictable evasive action.'

Robert Paul
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