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14 comments on this post.
  1. Ross Presser:

    In 2002, Kay Pfaltz published “Lauren’s Story: An American Dog in Paris”. On page 21 appears the sentence “A flink is twelve or more cows.” It seems pretty obvious from the context that it is a joke, and possible that this book is the origin of the sentence.
    link: http://books.google.com/books?id=1SWiI5N7_jsC&lpg=PA21&dq=twelve%20or%20more%20cows%20flink&pg=PA21#v=onepage&q=twelve%20or%20more%20cows%20flink&f=false

  2. Ross Presser:

    I’ve emailed the author through her website to see if she claims invention.

  3. Ross Presser:

    Unfortunately Ms. Pfaltz replied that she did not invent the term: “No, I actually heard that a flink was twelve or more cows. But when I later went to verify I found no reference.”

  4. Ross Presser:

    Here is a Usenet citation from 2001-03-22!
    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.education.distance/msg/0210b8efb37e3571?hl=en

  5. Ross Presser:

    Here is a Usenet citation from 1996:
    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.folklore.urban/msg/5bc6883dde311dfe?hl=en

    Note the group it appeared on — clearly it was thought doubtful even then.

  6. Roger Hulme:

    I was just frying some eggs, sunny side up,by FLINKING fat over the yolks from the bottom of the pan. Similarly, if I wash my hands and there are no towels – I FLINK the excess droplets off.
    This comes from my childhood in UK (40s-50s) gleaned from my mother who grew up in Devon in 1910-30.

    FLINK, v> and sb. Dor. Som. Dev. Cor. Also in form vlink Dev. 1. v. To fling, toss, jerk; to sprinkle, shake; sometimes with off, out.

    Dev. ‘E’th a flinked tha watter awl awver tha room. ‘E (linked the dist in my eye. Flink out yer apporn till ‘e’s dry, Hewett Peas. Sp. (1892). n.Dev. ‘A might ‘a flinked ‘e vrom en, Rock Jim an’ Nell (1867) st. 90. nw.Dev.1 Doan ee flink yur pen like that, you’ll hail the desk all auver [you will cover the desk with ink]. Jis’ flink the znaw off yur jacket avore you kom een. Cor. Thomas Randigal Rhymes (1895) Gl.; Cor.1 She flinkt out of the room. She flinkt off her hat.

    Hence Flinker, sb. a proud woman.

    Dor. Haynes Voc. (c. 1730) in N. V Q. (1883) 6th S. vii. 366.

    2. To comb the hair. Dev. N. 6r» Q. (1866) 3rd S. ix. 320. Hence (1) Flinking-comb, (2) Flinktail-comb, sb. a

    dressing comb, a large comb for the hair.

    (1) Dev. She was making a pudden wi’ pindy flour in a cloam dish,. . while a Sinking comb wur lying right into the flour, ib. (2) Dev. Hewett Peas. Sp. (1892).

    3. sb. A fling, jerk; a blow with the tips of the finger. Cor.1 She went out with a flink ; Cor.3 A flink under the ear.

    In freq. use.

    4. Phr. (1) to care a flink, to care a whit; (2) to give something a brave flink, to make a good attempt or endeavour.

    (1) Som. But as for the pink I cared not a flink, Child Sa//arfs( 1894) V. 259. (a) Cor. Can you say the Lord’s Prayer, my son ?—Don’t knaw ef I can ‘zactly, sir; but I can gibb’n a brave flink, Thomas Randigal Rhymes (1895) Gl.; Cor.3 Aw dedn’t do it fitty, but aw gave un a brave flink. In freq. use.

    5. A bad temper, tantrum; also in pi.

    Cor. Missus has been in a bra’ flink all day, because I brok’ a cup (M.A.C.); Cor.a She’s in one of her flinks again. 8. Figure, appearance.

  7. Roger Hulme:

    I should add that my OED echos your comment. I found my earlier reference by GOOGLING “flink dialect”.

    The eggs, by the way were real. It occured to me that I had not heard the word in years and went to the web where I found your site. I am bookmarking it; thanks.

  8. Ross Presser:

    Another attestation from 1996:
    http://www.thefartherside.net/archives/1996/10.html

  9. W E Dunning:

    A quick google turns up several websites featuring science for youngsters that talk of making an object that neither floats on top of a vessel of water, nor sinks to the bottom, but hovers halfway up or down — apparently like the glass spheres in the Galileo thrmometer.

    The verb used is “flink.” It seems to have been created by combininig FLoat and sINK into a single term. That sounds exactly like what a child of about that age would do, and it seems a good term, as applied to hovering in a liquid.

    We use “hover,” I think, to imply airborne, rather than waterborne, situations.

    The noun “flinker” appears in some of these sites as the generic name of an object of varying density that flinks in water. Not a floater, not a sinker, but a flinker: sounds good to me!

    The “flink of cows” terminology has one basic flaw. Evidently, to flink-users, a herd of cows (or cattle? or other beasts?) is any plural number from 2 to a Texas ranch, but a flink is exactly 12, no more, no less, and no goats, either. I’d call that “a herd of a dozen cows or goats or critters” and be done with it.

    Bill Dunning
    Santa Fe, NM

  10. Ray Butler:

    Bill Dunning?

    I know a W. E. “Bill” Dunning from Panama City, FL

    He’s an Engineer who worked at Arizona Chemical Company in Panama City, Florida and was also the Plant Manager at Arizona Chemical Co. Port St. Joe, FL.

    Mr. Dunnings comment sounds like the person I know; very smart man!

    Good luck out there in Santa Fe, NM

    Bill, if you click on: YouTube and type “Arizona Chemical Demolition” and watch A-50 Distillation Column, PS-1 Tower, A-20 and A-30 Distillation Columns fall to the ground in the 1 minute video. Since you worked there as I did for 33 years, it will be sad!

    The new owners; Rhone Capital, LLC now realize they closed and demolished the wrong money making chemical plant, but it’s too late now, it’s all gone.

    The 34 acres of land was donated to the Gulf County Port Authority for free.

    Sincerely,
    Ray L. Butler
    Powerhouse Operator
    PSJ, Florida

  11. rudolf flink:

    I do not know where all you people come up withall this bull dust about my family name, it has been around since the 13th century from Germany, the name translated means :good,brave: so all this rubbish about a herd of cows is what we call in Australia Bulls!!t.

  12. Jules:

    There was a children’s cartoon program on American TV in the 1950s that aired a segment called “The Three-Horned Flink”: http://youtu.be/yS5aN9U2h3k

  13. Barabra Flink Bordelon:

    Rudolf in Australia, My Father was born in New Orleans, LA. His great grandfather immigrated to the U.S. in the 1800s. Since my father was orphaned at the age of twelve years old and we have no family connections from his side of the family. I’ve often wondered about our family name and am very pleased with the translation meaning: good and brave. Thanks for the information I am very happy to go with that.

  14. joyce mclean:

    You are right.In Cornwall,flinking is what you do when you shake a laundered article before hanging it up on the clothesline….outside,of course.It’s a short sharp flick of the wrists.

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