chink

Definitions

General English

Construction

  • A small, elongated cleft, rent, or fissure, such as the openings between logs in a log cabin wall.
  • To install insulation around gaps in exterior walls and door and window frames.

Slang

  • noun a Chinese person. The word (possibly inspired by Chinese words for their own country and people, actually pronounced ‘Joong-’) has been used in American and Australian speech since the turn of the 20th century; in Britain it is slightly more recent.
  • noun money, change. From the sound of coins.

Origin & History of “chink”

English has three words chink. The one denoting the sharp metallic sound (16th c.) is purely onomatopoeic. The one meaning ‘small hole’ (16th c.) is something of a mystery, but it may be an alteration of chine ‘fissure’ (14th c.) (best known today as the term for a coastal ravine in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight), which came from Old English cinu. Chink as a demeaning term for a Chinese person (19th c.) is a facetious formation based on China or Chinese.
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