Date: Wed, 6 Mar 1996 09:39:12 CST
From: "Joan H. Hall" jdhall[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU
Subject: Re: skinny marink?
_Skinny marink_ is a variant of the earlier _skinny malink_, which goes
back to a comic song on the London stage around 1870. The _Scottish
National Dictionary_ has _skinnymalink(ie)_, for an emaciated person or
animal, with an 1892 quote "Twa skinamalinks o' the genus horse." A 1956
quote says, "There used to be a chidren's song in Aberdeen relating the
adventures of a thin man called 'Skinamalinky Lang Legs', which is still
sung as a skipping-song, etc."
I think this goes back to a Scottish phrase, "like the links o the cruik,"
which means 'very thin, skinny.' The cruik, or crook, is the hook from
which a pot is hung over a fire, and the links are the chain that suspends
the hook. Someone who is skinny as a link is obviously very skinny.
In the form "Skin-a-ma-rink," the phrase was popularized in 1924 by Eddie
Cantor, in a song written by Al Dubin, Jimmy McHugh, and Irving Mills.
Joan Hall, DARE