Careful what you say...

Jinx (children's game)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

jinx, or "personal jinx", is a children's game (although not necessarily played only by children) with myriad highly varied rules and penalties that occurs when two people accidentally speak (or type) the same word or phrase simultaneously.


jinx can be initiated when at least two people make any of the same sounds, comments, etc. unintentionally say (or type, in the case of Internet jinx) the same word or phrase at the same time. If one of them (the "jinxer") yells "Jinx!" before any further conversation has begun, the other person (the "jinxee") is in a state of being "jinxed" and may not speak further until they are "released" from the jinx. The rules for what constitutes such a release vary. Traditionally, a jinx is ended when anyone speaks the jinxed person's name. However, a common variation says that only the jinxer can free the jinxee from their obligation to remain silent. (This is sometimes called a "private jinx" or "jinx personal lock".)
The game ends when either the jinxee is released from the jinx or when the jinxee "breaks" the jinx by speaking while in a state of being jinxed. In the latter case, the Jinxee loses the game, and often a penalty is exacted.
Simultaneous speaking that is planned or expected, such as during the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance or during the singing of a song, is ineligible for a jinx to occur. A jinx may only follow a spontaneous and unexpected overlapping of conversation by both parties.


Traditionally, the penalty for speaking while in the state of being "jinxed" (i.e., breaking a jinx) is a firm punch in the arm. Perhaps a more common penalty is that the loser owes the winner (that is, the person who called jinx) "a Coke" (cola beverage). Victory is often announced when the jinxed person speaks out of turn and the winner yells enthusiastically, "You owe me a Coke!" Also when the jinxer yells out jinx and counts to ten before the jinxed person can say anything then also the jinxed person owes the jinxer a coke.
In some instances, the "jinxee" can only be freed from jinx upon purchasing the "jinxer" a coke (this rule is honored when the "jinxer" enforces this stipulation).
In the case of what is known as a "false jinx," that is, where a person who calls "jinx" on a second party incorrectly, and only if the second party whom "jinx" was called on does not interrupt the jinxer's counting (in such variation), then a "false jinx penalty" is then imposed on the "jinxer," on which then constitutes a normal penalty then being imposed.


In the United States, the most common variation is to have the announcer of the Jinx be entitled to a soda from the victim; giving the announcer of the Jinx a soda or otherwise promising to give a soda breaks the Jinx. In other regional versions, "Dibs" or "Pinch-poke" replace "jinx" but the announcer is still entitled to a soda from the victim.
There are regional inconsistencies as to whether nicknames or shortened names are sufficient to remove a jinx. Similarly, rules vary as to whether a partial or full name (including a middle name) is required. There are variations of the game that require the name to be repeated three times to avoid any casual utterance of the name (and subsequent release of the jinx). Other versions are looser, where even an accidental utterance, such as when calling someone else with the same name, or in the case of a homonymic phrase ("Share on"/"Sharon"), is enough to release the jinxed person.
Typically, if two people say a word/phrase simultaneously and neither one calls "jinx!", a third party may not call a jinx in order to receive two Cokes or administer two punches. Only one of the two active parties may call jinx. However, in a variation, if two people state the exact same word at the exact same time and neither of them says, "jinx" immediately afterward, a third party may jinx both of the formers. This is known as a "third party jinx."
One common but not ubiquitous rule is that the jinxer must count to a predetermined number (such as ten) without being interrupted after saying "jinx". The jinx may be broken during this counting period by the potential jinxee or anyone else in the room.
Other variations on "jinx" involve who is sufficiently qualified to release the person who has been jinxed. In some versions, the jinx can only be released by the person who called jinx. In others, anyone in the room is equally qualified.
Sometimes the punch in the arm or "Coke" penalty for losing "jinx" can be replaced with Pepsi or another beverage. Unlike the punch in the arm variation, a common problem in the soft drink penalty lays in its collection.
Beer can also be used as an alternate beverage in this variation of the game. Instead of calling out jinx, the players may instead simply call out "beer" when a phase or word is called out simultaneously.
There is also an "Internet jinx" variation played on IRC or other chat, Instant Messaging, or virtual/simulated environments where the winner is entitled to indicate punching the loser in the arm or being presented with a Coke, albeit in a virtual sense. Sometimes, the penalty is a kickban.
According to some rules, the person who first yelled "jinx" can subsequently yell "lock" to "lock in" the jinx. This way, only the jinxer can release the jinxee from the jinx. If no lock is placed on the jinx, anyone can say the jinxees name and release the jinxer.
In some varieties of jinx, an automatic expiration duration such as three hours, a day, or a week is imposed. If the jinxer does not release the jinxee from the jinx by this period, the jinxee may break their silence without penalty. At this point, the game has ended. In some versions, the jinxee is deemed to have "won" the game by having survived the jinx period without having broken the jinx.
As an alternative method of determining the winner, the Coke may be owed to the kid that first yells "Pinch-poke, You owe me a Coke!" or sometimes just "Jinx with a Coke!" as soon as possible after starting the jinx. This person then wins the game, and thus a Coke. One alternative to the Coke rule often played by college students is to play for Rum and Cokes. Another variation is "California jinx" in which one cannot go to the bathroom until someone has said his or her name.
Another altnernative variation as experienced in some parts of Florida is that when two people say the same phrase simultaneously, the jinxer simply declares that the other person owes them a coke. There is no consensus as to what happens if they both declare the other owes the jinxer a coke with the same phrase.
There is no consensus as to what happens if three or more people speak a phrase simultaneously. As this is an extremely rare event, jinx rules regarding these circumstances are unclear at best.
A variation experienced in Southern Massachusetts in the 1960s may not be strictly considered a "jinx," but when two people say the same thing in unison (unplanned!), they must hook little fingers and say the following dialog: "What goes up the chimney?" "Smoke." "May your wish and my wish never be broke!"
The US military version of "jinx" may require that the "jinxee" pay a penalty of 5 "any-times" ("any-times" are push-ups that act as a payment for a penalty, usually done "any time" "jinxer" sees fit, such as at a large military roll call or anytime it would seem inappropriate for someone to get up in front of a crowd and do push-ups)
In the popular variety, "jinx at work," the jinx rules may be temporarily suspended in the interest of not losing one's job. For example, if a client calls or a coworker must urgently speak with a person who is jinxed, the jinxed individual is provided a brief moratorium lasting as long as it takes to complete the task at hand. Following that, the person returns to being jinxed as normal.

The jinx sequence

Sometimes, two people will utter "jinx" at exactly the same time. In a "simultaneous jinx", neither person can say to have jinxed the other, therefore no one is jinxed. Instead, jinxes can be immediately called "up the line". To determine who is the jinxer and who is the jinxee, both people must rapidly speak the next word in a (predetermined) jinx sequence. This continues until either there is a clear jinxer (the first person who speaks the next phrase in the sequence uninterrupted) or until both parties have reached the final level in the sequence, at which point no winner can be determined.
The jinx sequence varies from one community to another, and both players must be in consensus about its components and order.
One example of a jinx sequence is as follows:
  1. Jinx
  2. Double Jinx
  3. Triple Jinx
  4. Quadruple Jinx
To call up the line, one might say: "Jinx! Double jinx! Triple jinx! Quadruple Jinx!" as quickly as possible.

No comments: