Green’s Dictionary of Slang

clink n.1

[either SE clink, to secure, to fasten securely, or onomat. noise of clinking chains; note WWI milit. clink, guard room]

1. (also clinker, clinko, clinky, klink) prison or other form of detention, i.e. a guard-room .

[UK]A. Barclay Eglogues Eiiii: Then art thou clapped, in the Fleete or Clynke.
[UK]Nashe Death and Buriall of Martin Mar-Prelate in Works I (1883–4) 198: The South, where some at Watring catch a fall, / Newgate, and Bedlam, Clinke, and Bridewell bray.
[UK]E.S. Discovery of Knights of Poste C4: A man that you know verie well, was clapt by the heeles in the Clinke, for baileing [...] a Papist before the High Comissioners.
W. Prynne Sovereign Power of Parliament Pt I (1643) 20: I shal instance onely in three or foure to the Clinke.
[UK]Milton Apology for Smectymnuus in Works III (1851) 286: He who would have been respondent, must have bethought himselfe withall how he could refute the Clink, or the Gate-house.
[UK]Wandring Whore I 5: There was the Clink for the imprisoning such as abused those houses.
[UK]N. Ward ‘A Trip to Jamaica’ Writings (1704) 167: They are Stigmatiz’d with Nick-Names [...] as Unconscionable Nan, Salt Beef Peg, Buttock de-Clink Jenny.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 145: As to the Villains about White-Chapel, St. Katherine’s, the Click [sic], and the rest of the Devil’s Houses [...] I must have a word or two with the Gaoler.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Worcester Jrnl 22 Feb. 4/2: He is at present confined in a strong cell in Plymouth Clink, doubly ironed.
[Ire]‘A Real Paddy’ Real Life in Ireland 187: Honest Patrick Mooney announced to them that his master was in the Clink.
[UK]Marryat Jacob Faithful II 39: Come along with me; we’ve a nice clink at Wandsworth to lock you up in.
[UK]Exeter & Plymouth Gaz. 21 Oct. 5/3: [H]e had charged the man who had died in clink three days before, with stealing.
[UK]G. Borrow Romany Rye I 289: Mounted police to ride after the ruffians and drag them by the scruff of the neck to the next clink.
[UK]G.A. Sala in Living London (1883) Apr. 140: What we call a lock-up, or police station [...] the oldest inhabitants at Exmouth call a ‘Clink’.
[UK] (ref. 16C) G.A. Sala in Living London (1883) Apr. 140: Centuries ago there was in Southwark a prison known as the Borough ‘Clink’.
[UK]Kipling ‘Cells’ in Barrack-Room Ballads (1893) 160: I’m here in the Clink for a thundering drink and blacking the Corporal’s eye.
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 103: I put in my three years in the clink – that is most of the three years.
[Aus]Age (Queanbeyan, NSW) 12 Jan. 2/6: Supposing any one of us was to get lumbered and flopped into that match box clink and a fire was to burst out, you can bet your sweet life that the lovely John Hopper and his missus and the kinchins would do a Carrington and leave the poor philgarlick in the booby hatch to frizzle.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Aug. 47/1: ’E spent ’alf ’is life in clinky, an’ th’ other ’alf fightin’ ’er.
[US]Rising Sun 25 Dec. 8/1: I sneaks along to barricks, and I tries to dodge the guard, / When I hears a voice say, ‘Who goes there,’ I says ‘It’s me, old pard.’ / He takes me to the sergeant who shoves me in the klink, / And all because I dallied with a bit of skirt in pink.
L.N. Smith Lingo of No Man’s Lnd 21: CLINK The old soldiers' term for Military Guard room.
[Aus]C.H. Thorp Handful of Ausseys 19: Out of it quickly, before I shove you in the clink!
[UK]Breton & Bevir Adventures of Mrs. May 70: ‘’Ow’d that suit you Gladys?’ she says. ‘Do a bit of work while yer old man’s in the clink.’.
[Ire]S. O’Casey Within the Gates Scene iv: If I was to spend a month in clink for it, s’help me, I would!
[US]J. Hargan ‘Psych. of Prison Lingo’ Journal of A and S Psychology Oct. 362: In the clinker [W&F].
[US]J. Archibald ‘Crash on Delivery’ in Flying Aces Nov. [Internet] They won’t be so lucky when they get thrown into a klink for twenty years.
[US]W. Winchell ‘On Broadway’ 29 July. [synd. col.] The Gov’t [...] has a right to clap you in the clinko.
[UK]J. Maclaren-Ross Swag, the Spy and the Soldier in Lehmann Penguin New Writing No. 26 47: You want to watch out you ain’t clapped in clink yourself, m’lad.
[US]J. Archibald ‘Photo Finish for a Dame’ in Popular Detective Mar. [Internet] Imagine how I feel when I see Gertie Mudgett in the klink!
[UK]A. Sillitoe ‘Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner’ in Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (1960) 15: That knife is Borstal, clink, the rope.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ Gone Fishin’ 10: Don’t try to learn anything from his Old Man, though. Finish up in clink if you do.
[UK]J. Rosenthal Spend, Spend, Spend Scene 7: My dad was too busy to work. Half the time he was on Lloyd George, and the other half in clink.
[UK]F. Taylor Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 217: If you go back they’ll slam you in the clink?
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 83: Wow, I never thought to find love in the clink!
[US]People (Sydney) 5 July 65/2: A pervy Pommy postie copped a year in the clink for stealing a whopping eight mailbags full of sex toys!
[UK]T. Fontana and B. Winters ‘U.S. Male’ Oz ser. 3 ep. 5 [TV script] I’m gonna put you onto something while we locked up here in this clink.
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 262: Nobody saw fit to throw me in the clink for acting.
[UK]K. Richards Life 353: I’m presuming that Bobby is now definitely in the clink.

2. (also clinkum) money.

[Ire]K. O’Hara Midas (1771) 27: Will you reject my income, / Herds and clinkum?
[UK]A. Shirrefs Jamie and Bess I ii: I meant to spend my clink, On something ither than a drap o’ drink.
[UK]C. Dibdin Yngr Song Smith 24: We know no more what the churchwardens do with the clinkum.
[UK]J. Hogg Tales and Sketches II 2, 3: Such young ladies as were particularly beautiful [...] and had the clink.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. I 76: Down with the clink, then.
[UK]H. Nisbet Bushranger’s Sweetheart 66: You might as well have put him off with a promise, and saved the clink.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

3. (Aus. prison) a leg-chain.

[Aus]‘Price Warung’ Tales of the Early Days 38: I never ’ud ha’ got rid o’ them damned clinks but for thee until the day I fed the worms.

4. (US) a police station.

[US]C.L. Cullen More Ex-Tank Tales 131: A bunch o’ [...] ward sleuths a-pattering in the back room off a precinct clink.