Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Iron Out The Kinks

Posted by Elyse Bruce on June 22, 2010

Kink” is derived from the Dutch word “kink” which means to twist or  twirl  — as in a rope, wire, or a lock of hair — to such a degree as to create  especially a noticeable obstruction.   The phrase to “iron out the kinks” was well entrenched in American English as evidenced by various newspaper articles from the turn of the 20th Century.

The phrase was used by candidate William Randolph Hearst as reported in an article in the New York Times on October 23, 1906.   He reportedly said that he would spend the greater part of the week “in the city in an effort to iron out the kinks in the local situation and try to get his fusion to fuse.”

His opponent, Patrick E. McCabe, member of the State Committee and leader of the Democratic organization in Albany, was less convinced of Hearst’s ability to do so. 

However, the phrase is much older than this.  The Calendar Act passed in 1751 in the British Isles and her Dominions and in North America caused the loss of eleven days.  It was written that this Act presented to the British Parliament by Lord Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, was passed by the British Parliament in order to “iron out the kinks” in the Gregorian calendar.

The phrase to “iron out the kinks’ is an old expression that still fits all modern day mental, emotional and physical connotations.

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