|Suggested Meaning:||earthworm-shaped burn|
|First element||Scots swinky ‘earthworm’|
|Second element||Scots burn ‘stream”|
|Blaeu Coila (1654):||N/A|
|OS Name Books (1855-57):||Swinkey Burn|
|Location:||Ordnance Survey (1898)|
Scots swinky ‘earthworm’ + Scots burn ‘stream’
The Ordnance Survey Name Book (1855-57) entry for Swinkey Burn reads -.
Small Stream rising north of Lamb Hill and running in an easterly direction to Afton Water
The Dictionary of the Scots Language entry for swink  includes a number of references that could be related to the action of a water-course including ‘to splash about in a container‘ and ‘to make a shaking side-to-side motion‘. It also includes a definition of the dimunitive form swinky as follows –
II. n. In dim. form swinky and by-form swanky: the common earth-worm (Ork. 1929 Marw., Ork. 1972, swinky, swanky).
Of course it should be noted that the example given of swinky ‘common earth-worm’ is from an Orkney source and certainly is not familiar locally.
Taking all of the above into account there is a suggestion of a burn moving from side to side or perhaps a burn shaped like an earthworm, which fits reasonably with the shape of the Swinkey Burn.
The burn  no longer flows into the Afton Water but instead into the Afton Reservoir created in the 1930s.
| Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. |swinky|
| Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd.| burn|
|By Permission of National Library of Scotland|
|Images used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence.|
|Map 1: Ordnance Survey Maps – Six-inch 2nd and later editions, Scotland, 1892-1960 (1898)| Swinkey Burn|
|Map 2: Ordnance Survey, 1:25,000 maps of Great Britain – 1945-1971(1953) |Swinkey Burn|
Use of these digitised maps for non-commercial purposes is permitted under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC-SA) licence.
|Ordnance Survey Name Books|
|By Permission of Scotland’s Places|
|Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|Swinkey Burn|