Dinking around

Posted by Smokey Stover on May 15, 2007

In Reply to: Dinking around posted by Pam on May 14, 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."