Words and Phrases



uncontrollable fit of laughter

Alternative spelling/meaning:


In Literature:

Excerpt from Ballygullion by Lyn Doyle

An’ thin she could hould out no longer, but down she sits on a chair an’ laughs, an’ rocks herself back an’ forrard in the chair laughin’, till she got a stitch in her side. But ivery time she thought av Pether off she wint again, an’ whin he come back intil the kitchen wi’ a pair av Brian’s breeches on him that hardly come till his ancles, an’ the ould cordhuroys in a parcel undher his arm, she hadn’t more than half laughed herself out, an’ wint intil a fresh kink.

(Dublin & London: Maunsel & Co. Ltd., 1920), p 31.

Excerpt from Lobster Salad by Lyn Doyle

p. 73: As the two women came in he bursts into a kink of a cough. “I’ll go straight to bed, mem,” sez he to Miss Kimmit, “for I’m no company with this bark I’ve got. But I’ll be better in the morning. …

p. 110: “Is it laugh at ye, Mr. Anthony?” sez I. “I wouldn’t think of such a thing.” An’ the next minit I was holdin’ on to a tree an’ laughin’ till I lost my breath. I’d ha’ been laughin’ yet, I believe, between p.111 the fun of the thing an’ the look of Mr. Anthony, but just as I was in the middle of a kink there comes a whistle from up the path in front of us.

(London: Duckworth, 4th edition, 1937), pp 73, 111.

Excerpt from Dear Ducks and other “Ballygullion” Stories by Lyn Doyle

p. 140: “What about the sergeant, Polly?” sez the Masther. The crather cocked up its wee beady eye like a flash. “The sergeant’s dhrunk,” it sez, away deep down in its throat. “The sergeant’s dhrunk. Look at his nose. Very sad, very sad.” An’ then away it goes in a rhyme ye could hardly follow, it went that quick: “Look at his nose, look at his nose, look at his nose,” with a great kink of laughin’ at the end; an’ then very slow an’ serious again: “Very sad – very sad.”

p.191: Afther a while the laugh died down, with one or two fresh starts among the weemin’-folk; but Hannah still kept on till she went fair into hysterics, an’ didn’t come to till they threatened to pour water on her. Even afther she was partly stopped she’d lay down her sewin’ an’ go off into a fresh kink.

(London: Duckworth, 1925), pp 140, 191.

Excerpt from English as we speak it in Ireland by P W Joyce

p. 234: Chincough, whooping-cough: from kink-cough. See Kink. p. 280: Kink; a fit of coughing or laughing: ‘they were in kinks of laughing.’ Hence chincough, for whooping-cough, i.e. kink-cough. I know a holy well that has the reputation of curing whooping-cough, and hence called the ‘Kink-well.’

(London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1910)], p 280 (glossary).

Excerpt from The Adventures of Hughey Funney by Robert Huddleston

Be the fashions of Paris, boy, numerous pictures, more glancin’ and bonny than those on the heads of gingerbread babies of barbers in their fineries and razors in their hand at each end of the sign, and in the centre Hare and McCurls’s Shaveytantrium. Did you never hear tell o’t. It was the blade end strip’t a fellow of his hirsute appendages in less than a moment’s warning.” “Never”, responded Qua kinking still louder. “Oh, by the mither of the tonsure, Paddy, you need not laugh. The Shaveytantrium, boy, d’ye see, took the pride off Lon’on”. …

“Well-a-day!” said Judy, now gaining breath and only kinking by turns, “if that wife o’ Hughey’s, Bevin, talks the way you talked, sure enough, she’ll be odd – ek-ek-ek – och she’s no handy wid the tongue.” …

And he skipt and sang – and he laughed – and they laughed, the one to help the other, till their laughs ended – ended and again began, every eye cast next other, till the ended in fearful kinks. …

(unpublished manuscript, no date).

Excerpt from By Thrasna River, The Story of a Townland, given by one John Farmer, and edited by his friend, Shan F. Bullock by Shan F Bullock

“Oh dear, oh dear!” said Rose at last, putting her cup on the table, and wiping her eyes with her apron, “I’ll die this day! Oh dear, oh dear! To think o’ the foolishness av us all! Aw, Master Hal, stop!” Hal, with his head on the table, was in what we used to call a kink, a species of hysterics which violence only could stop; so presently I dragged him by the collar down into the kitchen and shot him out into the yard.

(London: Ward, Lock & Co. Ltd., no date, but given as 1895 in UFTM Bibliography), p 98. The early narrative is unlocated geographically, until the hero’s arrival in Dublin.

Excerpt from Dan the Dollar by Shan F Bullock

“Well, thanks be to God for that,” said Sarah at last; “it does one more good than a month of doctor’s physic. Ah, the foolish old woman I am to be sure. Well, well. Never can I look at those bonnets again without having a kink.” “Nor I, mother,” said Mary. “And if you see me laughing to myself you’ll know I’ve been seeing two heads upon you.

(Dublin: Maunsel, 1906), p 116.

Excerpt from Sayings, Proverbs and Humour of Ulster by Sir John Byers

If the patient is a child he may be “donsie” (Scotch for sick or ailing), or he may have an attack of “dwaums” (a sudden illness), or he may have the “gnarls” (chicken-pox), the spots being like knots or gnarls of wood; or the “chin-cough” (whooping-cough). This was originally “kink-cough,” from an old word kink (Anglo-Saxon cincian, and Dutch kinken), which was used with two meanings – (I) to laugh loudly (one often hears in Ulster, “he kinked with laughter”), and (2) to gasp for breath, as in the spasms or kinks of whooping-cough.… It is a pity that the modern word “whooping-cough” has so much displaced the more ancient and classical term “chin-cough,” still largely used in Ulster.

(Belfast: W Strain, 1904), p 60


Be the first to comment

Quick Lookup