gin » djinn

Chiefly in:   djinn up

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “Can you djinn up a good Irish brogue?” (Michael Thomas, posting on soc.motss, 18 July 2005)
  • “… and scientists were bitch-slapped around and told to djinn-up “facts” that supported the…” (link)
  • “The military can’t meet its recruiting requirements nor the country djinn up enthusiasm for its adventures.” (link)
  • “We’ll probably also want to djinn up a roster of membership, perhaps to post on the web site.” (link)

The now-opaque expression “gin up” ’stir up, get something going’ (Dictionary of American Regional English) or ‘enliven’ or ‘create, develop’ contains, according to OED2, the “gin” of “cotton gin” (from “engine”). A modest number of people seem to have reinterpreted this expression as involving “djinn”, presumably on the grounds that a djinn(i) can create or fetch things. This version doesn’t seem to have made it into any dictionaries, and the ratio of relevant Google webhits is about 200 to 1 in favor of “gin”. Nevertheless, Michael Thomas, at least, thinks that his “djinn up” is just a different expression, with a different sense and a different spelling, from “gin up”.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/07/19 |

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