, in popular superstition
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events....
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...
- A type of curse
A curse is any expressed wish that some form of adversity or misfortune will befall or attach to some other entity—one or more persons, a place, or an object...
placed on a person that makes them prey to many minor misfortunes and other forms of bad luck
Bad Luck may refer to:* Harmful or negative luck* Bad Luck , a 1960 film directed by Andrzej Munk* "Bad Luck" * "Bad Luck" * Bad Luck, an album by Trophy Scars...
- A person afflicted with a similar curse, who, while not directly subject to a series of misfortunes, seems to attract them to anyone in his vicinity.
- An object/ person that brings bad luck.
- A penalty that one person can invoke on another when the two of them say the same thing at the same time: see Jinx (children's game)
A jinx is a children's game with myriad highly varied rules and penalties that occurs when two people unintentionally or intentionally speak the same word or phrase simultaneously.- Rules :...
The superstition can also be referenced when talking about a future event with too much confidence. A statement such as "We're sure to win the contest!" can be seen as a jinx because it tempts fate
Destiny or fate refers to a predetermined course of events. It may be conceived as a predetermined future, whether in general or of an individual...
, thereby bringing bad luck. The event itself is referred to as "jinxed". A dramatic historical example of this type of jinxing is the RMS Titanic
, which was said to be unsinkable, then sunk on its maiden voyage.
In a similar way, calling attention to good fortune – e.g. noting that a certain athlete is having a streak of particularly good fortune – is thought to "jinx" it. If the good fortune ends immediately afterward, the jinx is then blamed for the turn of events, if only jokingly.
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...
of the word is obscure.
- It may come from Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...
In Greek mythology, Iynx was an Arkadian Oreiad nymph; a daughter of the god Pan and either Peitho or Echo. She cast a spell on Zeus which caused him to fall in love with Io...
, that is, the wryneck
The wrynecks are a small but distinctive group of small Old World woodpeckers.Like the true woodpeckers, wrynecks have large heads, long tongues which they use to extract their insect prey and zygodactyl feet, with two toes pointing forward, and two backwards...
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...
, which has occasionally been used in magic
Magic is the claimed art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical...
Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic standardized process or ritual...
and is remarkable for its ability to twist its head almost 180 degrees while hissing like a snake
Snakes are elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Like all squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales...
. The Jinx bird is found in Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...
- It may be the plural of jink treated as singular.
Barry Popik of the American Dialect Society
The American Dialect Society, founded in 1889, is a learned society "dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other languages, influencing it or influenced by it." The Society publishes the academic journal, American Speech...
suggests that the word should be traced back to an American
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
folksong called Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines
, which was first popular in 1868. One verse in one version goes:
- The first day I went out to drill
- The bugle sound made me quite ill,
- At the Balance step my hat it fell,
- And that wouldn't do for the Army.
- The officers they all did shout,
- They all cried out, they all did shout,
- The officers they all did shout,
- "Oh, that's the curse of the Army."
The reference to various misfortunes and a curse lend plausibility to this.
The Online Etymology Dictionary
entry for jinx states that the word was first used, as a noun, in American English
American English is a set of dialects of the English language used mostly in the United States. Approximately two-thirds of the world's native speakers of English live in the United States....
in 1911. It traces it to a 17th century word jyng
, meaning "a spell", and ultimately to the Latin word iynx
The earliest use of the word "jinx" to refer to something other than the bird seems to have been in the context of baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...
; in the short story The Jinx
(1910) – later collected in the book The Jinx: Stories of the Diamond
(1911) – Allen Sangree
- Life :Father: Milton H. Sangree, Mother: Jane E. Hudson. Born around 1878, most likely in the Harrisburg or Steelton Pennsylvania areaAttended Gettysburg College Member of the Sigma Chi Theta fraternity...
By th' bones of Mike Kelly, I'll do it! Yes, sir, I'll hoodoo th' whole darned club, I will. I'll put a jinx on 'em or my name ain't Dasher, an' that goes!
and later referenced in Pitching at a Pinch
(1912), Christy Mathewson
Christopher "Christy" Mathewson , nicknamed "Big Six", "The Christian Gentleman", or "Matty", was an American Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He played his entire career in what is known as the dead-ball era...
explained that "a jinx is something which brings bad luck to a ball player." Baseball's most common "jinx" belief is that talking about a pitcher's ongoing no-hitter will cause it to be ended. See also Curse of the Bambino
The Curse of the Bambino was a superstition cited as a reason for the failure of the Boston Red Sox baseball team to win the World Series in the 86-year period from 1918 to 2004...