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See also: iynx and Jynx


Jynx torquilla (1)

Alternative forms[edit]

  • (adaptations of the Latin nominative singular, iynx) iynx [in the 19th century], jynx [from the 17th century onwards]
  • (adaptations of the Latin stem, iyng-) iyng, jyng [both disused after the 17th century]


An adaptation of the Latin iynx (wryneck), itself an adaptation of the Ancient Greek ἴῠγξ (íunx, Eurasian wryneck”, “Jynx torquilla”; figuratively “a spell or charm”, “passionate yearning), which see for an explanation of the development of its senses.



jynx (plural jynges)

  1. A bird, the wryneck, once thought a bird of ill omen (Jynx torquilla).
    • 1649, George Daniel, Trinarchodia: Henry V, line ccxcv:
      Where not a Silver Iyng, or Pigeon, fell To Pay the Markman.
    • 1706, John Kersey (editor), Phillips’s New World of Words, “Jynx”:
      Jynx, the Wry-neck, or Emmet-hunter, or as some say, the Wag-tail.
    • 1708, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London XXVI, page 123:
      The Jynx or Wryneck…I first heard this year on March 29.
    • 1845, The Zoologist: A Miscellany of Natural History III, page 1,107:
      Its sharp and harsh cry, resembling a repetition of Jynx, Jynx, Jynx.
    • 1857, Samuel Birch, History of Ancient Pottery (1858), volume I, page 297:
      A youth or females hold a bird, supposed to be the iynx, in their hands.
  2. (transferred sense) A charm or spell.
    Synonym: jinx
    • ante 1693, Sir Thomas Urquhart (translator), François Rabelais (author), The Third Book of the Works of Mr. Francis Rabelais, chapter i, page 23:
      These are the Philtres, Allurements, Jynges, Inveiglements [les philtres, iynges, et attraictz], Baits, and Enticements of Love.
  3. The name of an order of spiritual intelligences in ancient “Chaldaic” philosophy.
    • 1655, Thomas Stanley, The History of the Chaldaick Philosophy (1701), page 17/2:
      Then is the Intelligible Jynx; next which are the Synoches, the Empyreal, the Ætherial and the Material; after the Synoches are the Teletarchs…Intelligent Jynges do themselves also understand from the Father By unspeakable Counsels being moved so as to understand.

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  • NED V (H–K; 1st ed., 1901), § 3 (J), page 646/3, “Jynx