I just finished reading "Neuromancer" by William Gibson and wanted to ask you native speakers of the English language how his usage of the adjective / past participle "kinked" strikes you. Gibson plays with words a lot in this book in that he gives new meanings to some words, maybe to underline the fact that Neuromancer is set to play in the future.

So, I would like your input on some sentences and how they make you feel reading. The meaning can of course be deduced through the context, but I'd just like to know whether it's actual slang or just jazzed up a little to fit the narrative.

Here we go:

"So what's he got on you? How's he got the working girl kinked?"

"Steep climb out of gravity and every approach is kinked."

"One or all of them, he was certain, would be kinked for audio, very likely for simstim, and anything he said or did now was admissible evidence."

Thanks for your input.

  • 1
    This may be better in ELU, or SFF. Kinked is part of the language of the book.
    – James K
    Feb 17 '17 at 21:48

I understand it to be a metaphorical extension of what happens when a hose or cable gets a kink in it, and won't convey whatever it is supposed to be conveying properly.

See for example this image.


A "kink" is a real word, it is typically used to describe either sexual fantasies or in certain situations creases in a piece of fabric.

As for your example, I haver read many books and spoken to many people as well as being a native English speaker myself and have never seen the word used in any of these ways.

  • Thanks, good to know that you also haven't seen this usage before.
    – Miriam
    Feb 18 '17 at 18:40

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