Posted by R. Berg on May 18, 2007
In Reply to: Dinking in Australia posted by pamela on May 17, 2007
: : : What is the origin of the phrase "dinking around" and it's actual meaning? My 89 yo mother is very inquisitive of word meanings.
: : Well, I, too, am somewhat inquitive about word meanings, and I've never heard of "dinking around." If you search "dink" on the Internet you may come up with over six million citations, but very few that could be considered a verbal use. Some nouns can easily be turned into verbs, but that's not the case with most of the "dinks" turned up by the search. In tennis, a dink is a drop-shot, that is, a soft return in which the ball drops quickly, causing your opponent really to scramble to try to hit it back. The most interesting use of dink is probably as an acronym, DINK meaning Double Income, No Kids, to describe one strategy to help a couple live large.
: : If Pam or her mother have any connection with Australia, there is a way of dinking around there. To dink is to give someone a lift on your bike, letting him or her sit on your handlebars, your crossbar or in back of you. Me and my mates did this constantly in my childhood, although we never heard the word dink. (In Australia, the crossbar may be called a sidebar. In a bike shop it may be called the top tube.)
: : Among the OTHER meanings of dink readily available I saw none that I thought a good candidate for "dinking around."
: : SS
: A single word issue, I know, but on the Australian use of dink: for such a big country (geographically), Australia has few regional differences, but "dink" is one of these. (When I was a kid, we called it "double" as in "can I have a double" or "can you double me" - dink was a southern term. This has changed - when I don't know). The Australian National Dictionary Centre has this to say about "dink" - "The difficulties we have in finding written evidence for some colloquial Australian words is well illustrated by the regional terms for 'a lift on a bicycle (or a horse) ridden by another'. The term known Australia-wide is dink, but there are regional variations. In southern New South Wales it can be dub, and in the area between Mildura and Hay pug appears. In north-eastern New South Wales there is evidence for bar. In South Australia we find donkey and dinky . Apart from dink, these terms have only very rarely been discovered in written sources. Does anyone have any evidence for them in books, magazines, newspapers, etc.?" (http://www.anu.edu.au/andc/pubs/ozwords/October_2003/ftc.html). Pamela
Off topic, but when I was a child in California, we called doubling on a bicycle "pumping," I think. (Long time ago.) We'd say "Will you pump me?" and "I'll pump you." The kid operating the bike pumped. The other kid got pumped. I still have a scar from a crash while being pumped. ~rb