The connection between the words clink and jail comes from the name of an old prison in Southwark, London. Built some time in the 12th century, The clink was originally part of Winchester Palace.

So, when someone was "in the clink", they were literally in jail.

Clink (kli&nsm;k), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Clinked (kli&nsm;kt); p. pr. & vb. n. Clinking.] [OE. clinken; akin to G. klingen, D. klinken, SW. klinga, Dan. klinge; prob. of imitative origin. Cf. Clank, Clench, Click, v. i.]

To cause to give out a slight, sharp, tinkling, sound, as by striking metallic or other sonorous bodies together.

And let me the canakin clink.


© Webster 1913

Clink (kli&nsm;k), v. i.


To give out a slight, sharp, tinkling sound. "The clinking latch." Tennyson.


To rhyme. [Humorous]. Cowper.


© Webster 1913

Clink, n.

A slight, sharp, tinkling sound, made by the collision of sonorous bodies. "Clink and fall of swords." Shak.


© Webster 1913

Clink (?), n.

A prison cell; a lockup; -- probably orig. the name of the noted prison in Southwark, England. [Colloq.] "I'm here in the clink." Kipling.


© Webster 1913

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