‘Hinky’ is not a word, not in my lexicon at least. Since about 1983, I’ve been using Webster’s Ninth. If it’s not in Webster’s Ninth, I do not believe it exists in the English language, except as slang. (So, yes, “hinky’ can exist as slang, and I use slang, her at Plasty — and I also coin words, like “search-injuns” and “coinkydinky”, which, fittingly, rhymes with my headline, the coined term “hinky-pinky”. And I use Webster’s Ninth on the strict and vehement suggestion of a professor, at Dartmouth – -maybe Chauncey Loomis. And because Louise Fradenburg — I think – -taught us later, upper division, the history of the language, I know that dictionaries are descriptive not prescriptive, and languages evolve, certainly. But I will likely be dead by the time this tactic will betray me. So, you too, dear reader, should go find a copy of Webster’s Ninth and then only use those words, not slang terms like “hinky”. )
So “hinky” apparently means suspect, or perhaps felonious, or at least not cool. I learned this word just today, or maybe yesterday, on 60 Minutes. 60 Minutes is not only not fake news, they do have the power, more so that Plastic Alto or Plasty to invent words. If ten million people here a news reader say something or someone is “hinky” than that’s a thing.
Actually the show said that a Palo Alto police person or perhaps Santa Clara County Sheriff introduced to us the word “hinky”. There you go. Out of the mouth of babes.
“Hinny” is the closest thing that my W-9 has to “hinky”. It means what you get, a hybrid, when you cross a stallion with a female donkey. That’s from 1688. Maybe that’s what has evolved into “hinky” — our man or woman in blue was actually a linguist, or cunning linguist (And even weirdlier, I almost wrote “Linquist” which is a Swedish name).
There’s also, of course, lurking nearby, “hanky-panky”. This is a bastardization of “hocus pocus” and initially meant trickey more than sexual dalliance. Dooley, not. Before they hung him. They hung him well. Hanky panky is from 1841 whereas “hanky” meaning a handerkerchief didn’t enter the language until 1985.
I use a hanky, but I guess I call it a handkerchief. I have about a dozen hanks, I tend to swab them out quickly rather than carrying germs in my pocket.
Meanwhile, “pinkie” as your finger only entered us in 1808 or so.
All this explains why Dartmouth College issued my diploma in Latin.
I had opportunity to mention in an email to someone that Dartmouth is known as in the Top 25 schools for LGBT students — gays — whereas in 1984, I can plausibly claim, I was dinged by a fraternity at Dartmouth because I had written a three-part series for the student newspaper on the history of gay rights there. I was inspired by my own shame in that when my fellow Richardson Hall freshman were harassing the student activist David Garling, for claiming to be gay, I was afraid to defend him. Four months later I felt better about dissenting from the mob, and approached David and his roommate and fellow bravely out of closet gay activist and fellow leader of the GSA asking to hear his story. I also wrote about but likely did not contact a Stuart Lewin I think who got the same treatment a few years prior. There was also in my notes and likely in my stories a Nellie Pennington ’84 I think who had a separate group called LBQ I think for Lesbian Bi and Questioning. Lastly, I don’t think my friend Chris Knipp will mind me saying that he is gay and is in the Dartmouth class of 1962 and matriculated but transfered out after a week or two, not, he says, because he was gay-bashed but because the dean spotted him and suggested he looked too neurotic to continue. Chris is a blogger on films with over 3,000 reviews or posts, and an artist, and a retired art professor, living in Berkeley, CA and attended not Dartmouth but I think he said Amherst. Terry TMW and I met him on the plane to New York on our honeymoon. I mistook him for a cross country coach. Which is ironic since we were flying cross-country in a plane and not in first class.
I admit this post is not in first class either.