Where does the word “Shindig” come from and What does Shindig mean?

Although one authority cites a purported Southern United States meaning of “A sharp blow on the shins,” this may only be a transferred meaning, from the appearance of the word “shindig”, to an accidental kick received during a spirited dance or party.

It seems much more likely that a shindig is a U.S. alteration of the much older British word shindy, which is preceded by shinty and shinny.

This last is a ball game of considerable antiquity (seventeenth century or older) somewhat resembling field hockey.

Its name may have been derived from a call used in the game, “Shin ye! Shin you!” or from the Gaelic sinteag, “a skip, jump.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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