Popular Saying/Children’s Game – United States


Jinx is a popular children’s game played all over the United States. My sister first heard of the game in 1st grade. She said at first she didn’t know what it meant when her friends said jinx but after a while she understood that it meant that she couldn’t talk because she said the same word as her friend. She said that when a person calls jinx, the other person counts to ten and after she does that whoever has been “jinxed” cannot talk until someone says their name. If violated (the person talks), then their penalty is a  punch in the arm. This part of the game varies across America. She said sometimes she played where the other person has to buy her a candy bar or some sort of sweets.  She also stated that jinxes can be called in line, as if it were a race. The last person who has called the highest level of “jinx” wins and the other person is jinxed. She said that one example of a jinx sequence is:

  1. Jinx
  2. Jinx Double Jinx
  3. Personal Jinx
  4. Personal Jinx Black Magic Jinx
  5. Your Mother Jinx

She said that once when she was in California she heard someone say “California jinx.” This is where someone cannot go to the bathroom unless they have said his or her name.

I have played this game many times over the course of my schooling. I think that this game is played as a leisurely fun past time. I did a little research on this game I found out many variations around the United States. In North Carolina, if someone breaks the jinx, then they are rendered a homosexual. In Western North Dakota, the person jinxed cannot move from their spot until someone says their name.

In recent popular culture, the jinx game has been used many times. For instance in the popular show The Office, Pam the receptionist jinxes Jim and declares that he has to buy her a soda before he can talk. The unfortunate part to that is that they were out of soda in the soda machine, so he cannot talk the whole day until he leaves work.


Drug Testing.” The Office. NBC. KING, Los Angeles. 26 Apr. 2006.

“Jinx (Childrens Game).” Wikipedia. 17 Apr. 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jinx_%28children%27s_game%29>.