“Hijinks” is a weird word. I mean, most words are weird, but this one goes above and beyond.
Hijinks are fun, possibly mischievous activities. We use it as a plural noun, except we don’t really know what a “hijink” is, or why we never seem to have just one of them. So what is the freakin’ deal?
ETYMOLOGY ADVENTURE COMMENCE!
“Hijinks” is a variation of “high jinks,” which – around the 1700s – was a drinking game. You’d roll dice, and if you got a bad roll, you either had to do something embarrassing, or drink. (Thanks, Readers Digest!)
That name, in turn, was based on the word “jinks,” meaning playful activities – pretty much the same thing as “hijinks.” (Still plural-only, apparently.) And “jinks” is apparently related to the Old English “cincung,” which – I am told – means “a loud or cackling laughter.”
Another meaning of “jink” – singular this time – is swift or evasive movement. But it’s not clear (to me, at least) whether that has any connection to the meanings above.
Then of course there’s “jinx,” a hex or a curse. Sounds like it might be related, but actually it’s from the Latin “jynx,” or wryneck, a type of woodpecker evidently used in magic.
Which is funny to me, because “Jynx” is the name of a Pokemon, a deliberate misspelling of “jinx,” but more correct than they thought, since “jinx” was spelled with a “y” in the first place. (I do not expect this to be funny to anyone else.)
All that is a long way of saying that “jinx” is probably unrelated to “hijinks,” and I still don’t know why you can’t have just one “hijink,” and thus I’ve completely wasted your time. Have a good day!