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A patronymic surname that is derived from the male given name John + -kin (which forms diminutive )+ -s (denoting "son of") hence meaning "son of little John". It was originally an offshoot of the male medieval name Jenkin/Jankin. The name was brought from the crusaders; whence it originated in Cornwall but became popular in England and Wales.


  • IPA(key): /ˈdʒɛŋkɪnz/
  • Hyphenation: Jen‧kins

Proper noun[edit]


  1. A patronymic surname of Cornish and in English ("mainly of Devon") origin.
  2. a city in Kentucky.
  3. a city in Minnesota.

Derived terms[edit]


According to statistics in the United States, Jenkins is the 114th most common surname belonging to approximately 220,830 individuals. Jenkins is most common amongst White (73.9%) individuals and secondly common amongst Black (20.3%) individuals. All other races with the surname Jenkins are (3.3%) of the population.

Derived terms[edit]


Jenkins (plural Jenkinses)

  1. (derogatory, dated, colloquial) A flatterer or sycophant.
    the Jenkins employed by a newspaper
    (Can we find and add a quotation of G. W. Curtis to this entry?)
    • 1868, Edward Isidore Sears (ed.), The National Quarterly Review, volume 16, page 404:
      Because they are styled "the executive," "executive officers," &c., by their Jenkinses, and are declared by the same authorities to possess unbounded knowledge, and transcendent "executive ability," they sometimes fancy themselves the Czar, the Shah, or the Grand Turk []