Jinkies - Meaning, Origin and Usage

If you're in a conversation with someone and they blurt out "jinkies," what do they mean? This word rose to popularity through the hit kids' animated series, "Scooby-Doo."

This post unpacks everything you need to know about the meaning and origin of this word.

Jinkies Meaning

If you hear someone say the word "jinkies," they're probably using it as a way to exclaim surprise or disappointment at a situation. Jinkies is another way of phrasing cuss words or foul language, and it suits use around kids and adults.

It also suits replacement for the word "yikes," which was another popular expression by a Scooby-Doo character, Shaggy, Scooby's "owner."

The word has a similar meaning to "wow," or "oh my God," and it has negative and positive connotations. For instance, you could use it to describe your surprise at a friend arriving for a visit at your home. Or you could use it as a way to exclaim your disgust at the actions or statements of yourself or others.

It's a great way to tone down your language and prevent yourself from cussing around kids. Most of the younger generation will understand what you mean when you say "jinkies." The long history of the word means that older generations will appreciate its use.

When you use "jinkies," you're referring to a state of surprise. However, it can also refer to disappointment or frustration at your actions or the actions of others. The original use of the phrase suits both situations, and you can use it interchangeably for the correct effect.

Jinkies Example Usage

"Oh, jinkies, I left my wallet at home, and it has my ID in it."

"Jessica is here! Jinkies!, I can't wait to see her!"


Mike: "Did you remember to turn the oven off before we left the house?"

Carol: "Jinkies! Turn the car around right now; I'll start dialing the fire department."


Tim: "Did you know that Monica and Philip are an item?"

Jessica: "Really, I thought Philip was single? Jinkies."

Jinkies Origin

This idiom has its origins in the 1930s, where it was a popular word used in place of cursing or using foul language when a person wanted to express excitement or disappointment at an event or outcome.

However, the word would enter the modern language, thanks to the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, "Scooby-Doo." The animated series featured Scooby, Shaggy, and his friends solving mysteries.

One of the female characters, Velma, would use "jinkies" as her catchphrase whenever she would exclaim surprise. Velma would say "jinkies!" at least once during each episode, making it popular with kids.

The phrase is suitable for use in modern language, as Scooby-Doo is still a popular cartoon. Velma still uses the catchphrase in the modern Scooby-Doo movies and cartoon series.

Phrases Similar to Jinkies

  • Yikes.
  • Wow.
  • Damn it.
  • Gosh.
  • Oh no.

Phrases Opposite to Jinkies

  • Meh.
  • Oh well.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Jinkies.

Ways People May Say Jinkies Incorrectly

Some people may use the word to describe other emotions unrelated to excitement and disappointment. The term doesn't suit use in professional situations, and it's an uncommon expression in modern language. You also wouldn't use the phrase in intense situations that call for the use of strong language, as the person might not take you seriously.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Jinkies

You can use "jinkies" in social conversations where you're trying to avoid using foul language. Jinkies is an expression of surprise or disappointment, and it's a great substitute for many words and phrases. Most people will understand what you're saying, as Scooby-Doo is a popular kids cartoon for Gen Xers and millennials.

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