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Monday, April 3, 2017

‘RINK’ – Such A Common Word Today

Ask anyone on the street:  What is a “rink”?  They will describe an ice skating rink or perhaps roller skating, but the word actually originated from the sport of Curling.

The Webster’s Dictionary in 1895 did not contain the word “rink”.  The Webster’s 1905 edition does contain the word “rink”, but it redirects you:  “Rink see Ring”.  Under “ring” we find:  “Ring - a circle, circular line or anything in the form of a hoop; an inclosure [sic] for games … Rink, n Origin:  course for the game of curling; a covered sheet of ice …”

In the 18th century the meaning of "rink" was "a space of ice marked out for a curling match.”  By the mid-19th century, "rink" had acquired its modern day association with ice- or roller-skating. 

The roots of "rink" are a bit tangled, but its closest relative is probably the Middle English "renc," meaning "racecourse," derived from the Old French "renc," meaning "line, row or rank." (The related Old French word "ranc" gave us our modern English "rank").  It is also probable that both "rink" and "rank" go back to the Germanic root that produced the English word "ring" meaning "circle."

How did “rink” also become a word to describe a curling team is something we will discuss in a future article.

I shall see my rank rink at the round rink,
Jocko MacTartan

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