What does Shindig mean?

Shindig means a lively, noisy party or celebration.

As a secondary meaning, it can also be used for a noisy argument.


What's the origin of Shindig?

The first written publications of the term “shindig” date back to the 1870s and the very word probably derives from “shindy” meaning ‘a spree, or merrymaking’ dating back to the 1820s.

Although in the first written sources “shindy” was rather used to refer to a commotion as in ‘kick up a shindy’.

Another theory of the etymology of “shindig” is that in Southern States of the U.S. it was used literally to mean ‘kick to the shins’.

Spread & Usage

How did Shindig spread?

The term “shindig” appeared in many publications in articles about gatherings or in invitations throughout the 20th century.

Although it served as a title for movies, for example a Mickey Mouse cartoon from 1930, and for television programs such as the American musical variety series Shindig! from 1964 – 1966, it didn’t gain outstanding popularity until 1994.

The British garage punk magazine Gravedigger adopted the name of the former American TV show Shindig! in 1994 and broadened the content of the magazine as well as paid homage to the show that popularized British music and pop culture in the USA in the 1960s.

It is still a popular monthly published music magazine in the UK.

In the popular series Buffy, the Vampire Slayer in episode Dead Man’s Party (1998) the character Oz describes the difference between “a gathering, a shindig or a hootenanny”.

The first posts of “Shindig” appeared on Urban Dictionary in 2004, though there in some posts it was referred to smaller gatherings of a maximum of 15-20 people with loads of alcohol.

The term use skyrocketed in 2015 when a new music festival appeared on the scene in the UK, under the name of Shindig Festival, described as a boutique festival.

“Shindig” is frequently used as a hashtag on social media platforms such as Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

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