Stinky Pinky Word Play

Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms

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A rhyming epithet, such as glad dad for a happy father, or wild child for an uncontrollable youngster, is called a stinky pinky.

Made up of an adjective and a rhyming noun, a stinky pinky is a type of rhyming compound that functions as a playful definition.

As a word game, stinky pinky goes by various names, including hink pink, hank pank, wordy gurdy, and brain train.

50 Stinky Pinkies

  • an artificial body of water = fake lake
  • a bashful insect = shy fly
  • a bed on fire = hot cot
  • a better cafe = finer diner
  • a better knife = nicer slicer
  • a boxer who has lost weight = lighter fighter
  • a cautious bird = wary canary
  • cerebral overwork = brain strain
  • the chief of police = top cop
  • a chubby kitty = fat cat
  • colored lemonade = pink drink
  • a dark-colored sled dog = dusky husky
  • a deceased Marxist = dead red
  • dehydrated soup = chowder powder
  • a dismal chorus = dire choir
  • a ditch in Paris = French trench
  • a fast elevator = swift lift
  • the funniest joke = best jest
  • an explosion in a hen house = gizzard blizzard
  • a fat fish - stout trout
  • a fuzzy fruit - hairy berry
  • a greased hen = slick chick
  • a group yell = team scream
  • a grumpy mountaintop = cynical pinnacle
  • a happier small dog = merrier terrier
  • a holiday in Panama = isthmus Christmas
  • the home of a small rodent = mouse house
  • an impolite man = rude dude
  • an inactive flower = lazy daisy
  • an ink-stained little finger = inky pinky
  • a large toupee = big wig
  • permission to take something away = removal approval
  • a rabbit that makes you laugh = funny bunny
  • a sensible pupil = prudent student
  • a skinny little horse = bony pony
  • a smarter author = brighter writer
  • a smelly finger = stinky pinky
  • a smiling father = happy pappy
  • a Snickers bar dropped on the beach = sandy candy
  • a strange looking goatee = weird beard
  • a superior pullover = better sweater
  • a supervisor in a bad mood = cross boss
  • a suspicious looking clergyman = sinister minister
  • a tardy spouse = late mate
  • a five cent gherkin = nickel pickle
  • a temperate youngster = mild child
  • a tiny insect = wee bee
  • a useful rule = effective directive
  • a wet puppy = soggy doggy
  • a young cat in love = smitten kitten

Shawn Colvin on the Stinky-Pinky Game

"To play Stinky Pinky, you thought of an adjective and a noun that rhymed, hence the name 'Stinky Pinky,' and described the thing without rhyming in order to challenge the other players to guess your Stinky Pinky. You started out simply; a 'farm animal's sea vessel' would naturally be a 'goat boat,' and so forth, although single-syllable answers were called 'Stink-Pinks,' two-syllables 'Stinky Pinkys,' and of course three-syllable rhymes were 'Stinkity-Pinkitys.' One of my father's favorite words to rhyme was 'gherkin,' as in 'pickle.' Dad thought of a loitering pickle--a 'lurkin' gherkin'—a saucy pickle—a 'smirkin' gherkin'—a busy pickle—a 'workin' gherkin.'" (Shawn Colvin, Diamond in the Rough: A Memoir. William Morrow, 2012)

How to Play Stinky Pinky

"This game has acquired more elegant names since I first played it as a child, but this is the name I knew ...

"The game requires two or more players. One player thinks up a rhyming pair of words and provides a verbal clue—a non-rhyming definition. The other player(s) must discover the rhyming word pair. The example that comes immediately to mind from my childhood games is this one:

Player A: obese feline animal
Player B: fat cat

I actually remember, at the age of seven or eight, learning the meaning of the words 'obese' and 'feline' in this context.
"The game encourages careful listening to the clue and narrowing down the possibilities for an answer, constrained by the syntax of the clue and the need to find rhyming words." (Margie Golick, Playing With Words. Pembroke, 1987)

Stinky Pinkies in the 1940s

"Atlanta subdebs [teenage girls] have a little patois somewhat like old Pig Latin which they call Stinky Pinky. It contains words like Super-Snooper (a G-man), Flyer-Higher (an aviator), Snooty-Beauty (a debutante), Hen-Pen (a girls' school), Jug-Mug (a man in jail), and Silly Filly (a young girl)." ("Subdebs." Life magazine, January 27, 1941)

A Double Stinky Pinky

"A stinky pinky is a rhyming pair of words; one gives a paraphrase and the challenge is to recover the stinky pinky. I believe Paul [Halmos] is responsible for the following excellent double stinky pinky. Give a stinky pinky for an inebriated scoundrel. Answers: a drunk skunk or a plastered bastard." (Irving Kaplansky, "Reminiscences." Paul Halmos: Celebrating 50 Years of Mathematics, ed. by John H. Ewing and F.W. Gehring. Springer-Verlag, 1991)

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Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "Stinky Pinky Word Play." ThoughtCo, Jan. 3, 2021, Nordquist, Richard. (2021, January 3). Stinky Pinky Word Play. Retrieved from Nordquist, Richard. "Stinky Pinky Word Play." ThoughtCo. (accessed February 4, 2023).