Tiddlywinks and tiddleywinks

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Tiddlywinks is a children’s game in which opponents attempt to flip their plastic discs, or winks, into a pot. Each player uses a slightly larger plastic disc known as a squidger to flip their winks, pressing sharply against the edge of each wink until it pops up and into the pot. Tiddlywinks was invented in the Victorian era as an adult parlor game. In the 1700s-1800s, tiddlywink was an English term for a small, unlicensed beer house. How the game of disc flipping came to be called tiddlywinks is obscure, but the game itself was trademarked by Joseph Fincher in 1889. The game of tiddlywinks is often used as a negative comparison to an item or situation to stress the importance or difficulty of that item or situation in contrast to the triviality of tiddlywinks.

Tiddleywinks is a secondary spelling for the word tiddlywinks.


In last month’s Super 12 semifinal the second five-eighth was caught by a television microphone telling another Australian whistler, Peter Marshall, that “we’re not playing tiddlywinks” after being penalised for a tackle off the ball. (The New Zealand Herald)

“It’s AFL football, it’s not tiddlywinks, it’s a competition for men and we have to stand up and get the job done.” (The West Australian)

It makes Formula 1 look like tiddlywinks. (The Wigan Evening Post)

The hyper-competitive Emanuel doesn’t like to lose at tiddlywinks, let alone a marquee event like the NFL Draft with an economic impact pegged last year at $81.6 million, including 31,000 “hotel nights,” half of them filled by out of towners. (The Chicago Sun Times)

“All of this behavioral stuff eats away at the work at hand, and right now what we should be focused on is the budget. It’s May and we shouldn’t be playing tiddlywinks.” (The Eagle Tribune)