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Origin of verb 'to gig?'

WyoWoman 03 Jan 00 - 06:37 PM
charcloth 03 Jan 00 - 07:55 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Jan 00 - 08:04 PM
Roger in Baltimore 03 Jan 00 - 08:06 PM
WyoWoman 03 Jan 00 - 08:17 PM
Roger in Baltimore 03 Jan 00 - 08:19 PM
WyoWoman 03 Jan 00 - 08:29 PM
Roger in Baltimore 03 Jan 00 - 08:36 PM
Dave ( the ancient mariner) 03 Jan 00 - 08:41 PM
jeffp 03 Jan 00 - 08:41 PM
WyoWoman 03 Jan 00 - 08:51 PM
WyoWoman 03 Jan 00 - 08:53 PM
Jon Freeman 03 Jan 00 - 08:54 PM
Gary T 03 Jan 00 - 09:00 PM
stupidbodhranplayerwhodoesn'tknowanybetter 04 Jan 00 - 05:56 PM
04 Jan 00 - 06:09 PM
Caitrin 04 Jan 00 - 07:36 PM
_gargoyle 04 Jan 00 - 08:25 PM
emily rain 04 Jan 00 - 08:31 PM
emily rain 04 Jan 00 - 08:37 PM
Jon Freeman 04 Jan 00 - 08:46 PM
_gargoyle 04 Jan 00 - 09:03 PM
DougR 04 Jan 00 - 09:04 PM
JedMarum 04 Jan 00 - 09:12 PM
Brendy 04 Jan 00 - 09:24 PM
Remi From Paris 04 Jan 00 - 09:58 PM
MMario 04 Jan 00 - 10:11 PM
Sandy Paton 05 Jan 00 - 01:15 AM
Helen 05 Jan 00 - 01:29 AM
05 Jan 00 - 08:54 AM
WyoWoman 05 Jan 00 - 11:43 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 05 Jan 00 - 01:06 PM
Micca 05 Jan 00 - 04:39 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 05 Jan 00 - 04:45 PM
Margo 05 Jan 00 - 05:07 PM
Brendy 05 Jan 00 - 08:47 PM
_gargoyle 05 Jan 00 - 11:30 PM
Steve Parkes 06 Jan 00 - 03:25 AM
Penny S. 06 Jan 00 - 12:13 PM
annamill 06 Jan 00 - 12:49 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 06 Jan 00 - 08:11 PM
WyoWoman 06 Jan 00 - 11:19 PM
sophocleese 06 Jan 00 - 11:25 PM
Muriel 07 Jan 00 - 12:15 AM
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bassen 08 Jan 00 - 03:11 PM
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Subject: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: WyoWoman
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 06:37 PM

Does anyone know where this word came from and when?

Tx/ww


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: charcloth
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 07:55 PM

It sure didn't come from frogs!


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:04 PM

I think (which means I don't know) it originated from the light and cheap horsedrawn carriage of the same name. All musicians could afford you see.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:06 PM

The American Heritage Dictionary says "A job, especially a booking for a jazz musician." Perhaps that provides a lead on where to look.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: WyoWoman
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:17 PM

Well, I know the definition, but I don't know how it came to be what it is, don' cha' know. (And yes, in my youth, the only gigging I knew applied to frogs and it wasn't very friendly, from a frog's point of view...)

In the "gig from Hell" thread, it seemed as though an equal number of postings came from our neighbors in other countries, so I wondered if it was an American jazz word that's made it around the world, or if it was a British term that bounced over here...

ww


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:19 PM

WW,

We are on the chase. You asked about the verb "to gig". It clearly comes from the noun "gig" defined above.

Murray L. Pfeffer says on his web site in discussing gig's entomology says,
"'gig' --The musician's engagement probably derives immediately from the 'gig' that is a dance or party, but'gig' and 'gigi' (or 'giggy') also are old slang terms for the vulva; the first has been dated to the seventeenth century.".

Of course, you may have already guessed that someone would throw sex into the issue. If the latter statement is true, what does it have to do with a job?

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: WyoWoman
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:29 PM

Oh, my lord. Well ... uh ... I guess on one level EVERYthign comes down to sex -- certainly with musicians. But, I certainly can't think of the connection, unless it derived from streetwalkers and musicians simply adopted the word for their own form of "prostitution." (Hey, I have a fertile imagination.)


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:36 PM

WW,

This may be the definitive information. It is provided by The Word Detective aka Evan Morris who's column appears in "finer newspapers." Obviously, they have excluded your newpaper. What's that mean?

At his web site he says the following:

"Gig," on the other hand, has remained in fairly constant use since it first appeared in its slang sense among jazz musicians in the mid-1920's. Meaning, as you say, a musician's "date" or engagement to play, "gig" is actually both a noun and a verb, though it's more common to hear a musician speak of "playing a gig" than "gigging." Though a "steady gig" is prized in the notoriously unpredictable life of a musician, the word itself carries overtones of the short-term "one-night stand." Reflecting its roots in jazz, "gig" is almost exclusively used by jazz, pop or rock musicians -- cellists play recitals or engagements, not "gigs."

Most dictionaries say that the origin of "gig" in this sense is unknown, but it really doesn't seem that great a mystery. Appearing in English in the 15th century, "gig" meant something that spins, as in "whirligig." Subsequent meanings included "joke," "merriment" and (aha!) "dance." Since playing at parties and dances is every musician's meal ticket early in their career, it's easy to see how "gig" became generalized to mean any paying job.

This information comes to you courtesy of a quick search on excite.com by

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Dave ( the ancient mariner)
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:41 PM

Landlubbers, Gig is a small boat, usually the captains boat for getting ashore from anchorage. The crew were carefully selected, because the boats condition and appearance usually gave the first good impression to people ashore. Hence a "good Gig" was a credit to her ship. A good Gigs crew were the best sailors on the ship. Musicians may have adapted the word Gig for a Small job from the sailors Gig I do not profess to know but posted this in case there is a connection. Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: jeffp
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:41 PM

Just to stir the imagination a bit. Could there be a possible connection to the term gigue? I remember this from my classical music days (I originally studied trombone and received a classical music education), but don't remember what it meant (the 60s were hard on us all). I have no idea if it's relevant, but can't resist posting. Somebody stop me please, before I post again!


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: WyoWoman
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:51 PM

It's ok. This is an inquiry. The fun is in the process, not the product.

I like the nautical interpretation -- I was all set to go with RiB's, until I read that one. Although, it probably does have more to do with dancin' than sailin'. Still, let's see what other theories are posited...

It does seem to me that it's entered the common lexicon more recently. It used to be that the only people you ever heard refer to gig were musicians. (And I worked for years for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival -- many of the musicians most certainly did refer to their work as "gigs" -- but then, some of them also worked in other genres as well, e.g. Mark Conner, Edgar Meyer...)

ww

ww


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: WyoWoman
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:53 PM

I mean O'Connor. Whoops.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 08:54 PM

My dictionary (Chambers 20th Century English) has 2 entries for gig.

The first, a flighty girl, a light 2 wheeled carrage, a long light boat and a machine for separating the nap from cloth, is given as being derived from Middle English gigge (a whilrling thing).

The second entry is for the noun and the verb as in a band playing and it says that the etymology is unknown.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Gary T
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 09:00 PM

Well, it's been alluded to but not said directly--"gig", so I've been told, is short for "engagement", obviously coming from the accented "-gage-" syllable. It thus started out as a noun, but over the years also acquired verb status. Since I don't have any written sources to back this up, I can only make the case by appealing to logic--there are any number of words that have mutated over time, usually getting shortened to accomodate the laziness of human nature, and jazz musicians as a group were probably not overly compulsive about precise diction. Makes sense to me, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: stupidbodhranplayerwhodoesn'tknowanybetter
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 05:56 PM

There is some speculation that the term "jig" came from an old French term 'gigue' or something like that. I don't know if there is a connection, but to many old folk musicians, dances were their only paid perfomances, therefore would be a "gig". Slan, Rich


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From:
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 06:09 PM

Random House, 1966 says,

1)light boat; light one-horse carriage; to ride in a gig [ME gigge, gig flighty girl,? gig top; cf. Norw giga to shake about

2) spearlike device from fizgigfisga harpoon; gig mill, a roller containing teasels, used for raising nap on a fabric

3) an official report of a minor infraction of regulations, as in school, the army, etc.

4) the term we all know from jazz

gigue (zh-long e g) a dance, jig, often forming the concluding movement in the classical suite [F, also < It. giga, orig., a fiddle or lute)

From a modern French dictionary, gigue is a haunch of venison; (coll) leg; (slang)long-legged gawky girl


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Caitrin
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 07:36 PM

Out here on the Carolina Coast, we also have Flounder gigging (to go along with Frog Gigging) but it doesn't have anything to do with music, either. At least, not much.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: _gargoyle
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 08:25 PM

The Random House Dictionary of Historical American Slang1996, v.I, pp 890-891, gives detailed definitions with examples of usage for the word "gig", (1.5 pages very small print, very big pages. too much to post) in general chronological order of their appearance:

1. the vagina [orig. unkn] 1698-99
2. the anus [Cf] giggy, children bathroom and adults eupehm for "ass" ie up your n. 1954-60
3. two wheeled, one horse carriage
4. in policy gambling a set of usu. three number played by a better 1847
5. an instance of goading, gibing, or reproving 1901
6. a business affair, state of affairs, undertaking or event 1907
7. a job, an occupation 1908
8. ones preference or special interest 1965
9. an engagement, esp. for a single evening. to perform jazz, rock. or other popular music1926
10. a criminal undertaking, job 1953
11. an eye 1924
12. gigolo 1926
13. to cheat, take dishonest advantage of 1914
14. to place on disciplinary report; administer official punishment 1930
15. Orig Jazz to play single engagements as a jazz musician or (later) other entertainer (hence) to have employment 1939
16. to provide employment for 1971

Personal notes: Surprised at the French #1-2 (I thought it was only the Greeks) that confused a vagina and an anus.

Texas A&M uses the expression "Gig em' Aggies" at football games….their use is derived from the military heritage…..ie. unpolished shoes, or an un-buttoned button is a "gig-point." aka demerit, black-mark.

BTW --- WW --- I have wonderful memories of the Santa Fe Opera (before enclosure) and a "Flying Dutchman" performance, the natural elements added their own spectacular effects with wind, lightning, lots of lightning, and a little rain.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: emily rain
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 08:31 PM

oh dear, i SO don't want to be the nasty letch who read this thread and fixated on the sexual reference... but i have to know...

is "giggy" as in vulva pronounced with an initial g as in "go" or g as in "giraffe"? i'm wondering if it's related to the slang phrase "to get jiggy".

please understand, my curiosity is purely academic.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: emily rain
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 08:37 PM

gargoyle,

i'm told that although "fanny" means "arse" in america, it means "vagina" in ireland. go figure.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 08:46 PM

Emily, as far as I'm aware,"fanny" means "vagina" in the whole of the UK - it certainly would be taken to mean that in North Wales where I live.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: _gargoyle
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 09:03 PM

It appears that whole English speaking world is bass-side-ackwards when it comes to vulgar slang.

Another lifetime ago, .....
..............................I was informed that I should stop using the term "buggers".....because it referred to "Sodomites" .....whereas, I only believed it was the substance that was exhumed from one's nose. (working with British at the time)


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: DougR
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 09:04 PM

Garg: I have been led to believe that in Ireland the slang word for the part of the female anatomy is "Gee" pronounced with a hard "G".

Would any of our Mudcat friends in Ireland set me and Gargoyle straight?

DougR

WW: Sorry I strayed from your original question.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: JedMarum
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 09:12 PM

interesting turn of commentary in this thread! but I can't add to the learned comments on vulva, vagina, fanny or other such bits of interest ... but I had always presumed that 'gig' was short for engagement, as has been cited by several others above. It makes sense.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Brendy
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 09:24 PM

I'm from the North, and sometimes it would be referred to a 'Gee', the 'G' as in GO!
Probably more dialectic than anything else, really.
However me oul' boy used to ask me if I had a 'jig' tonight (pronounced as spelt). I thought he was just trying to be 'hip' to the lingo.
Should have asked him really.
'Fanny' is indeed the 'Gee'.
Maybe it's called 'Gee' because that may well be what one would say upon viewing it!
B.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Remi From Paris
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 09:58 PM

In French the "jig" - danced throughout Europe is spelled "Gigue". Might be an origin of the word...


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: MMario
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 10:11 PM

I never thought about this much until the topic was raised on another forum. I grew up in an area where frog gigging was known, but gigging for herring was common. a hooked spear (technically a gaff, I believe, but called a "gig") is used to pull the herring out of the runs by their gills. At that time at least, nets were illegal during the run and spawning herring won't take a hook (or so I'm told)) I always assumed that it was a "gig" because the musician was using his performance to "hook" in money (tips). Odd that none of the frog/fish "gig" definitions seem to have made the books... at least from the above examples, though I can see one definition that enters the realm...


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 01:15 AM

I dunno, but I always liked musician/Mudcatter Joan Sprung's reference to a "small gig" as a "giggle." Works for me!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Helen
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 01:29 AM

In Oz the word fanny refers to vagina, too. The British influence preceded the American influence there.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From:
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 08:54 AM

MMario, perhaps that is where the "hook" in a song comes from.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: WyoWoman
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 11:43 AM

Remind me not to discuss my "fanny pack" when I'm anywhere but in the U.S. of A.

This is such an interesting discussion -- I suppose the conclusion it's leading me to is that the term "to gig" has been in the language for a very long time, probably having to do with "a job, an occupation" and maybe having come from the word for the female anatomy, then having to do with prostitution, then meaning a job, then jazz musicians took it up to describe their paying jobs, then blues musicians took it, whereby it was transmitted to rock musicians and then, ka-BOOM, in the '60s and '70s, as with so much in popular culture at the time, it became part of the language of the streets, then part of everyday speech. And now, we have lawyers, doctors, journalists-for-sure and, I'd imagine, the occasional Indian chief referring to their work as a gig.

Ain't language a kick?

ww


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 01:06 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen, The discussion of anatomy could benefit from learned study; we appear to be suffering what Winston Churchill would have refered to as "Terminological Inexactituted" so for your edification and delight (sung to Gilbert and Sullivans Constabulary Duties)and not the Secret Policemans other Ball. Yours, Aye. Dave THE DOCTOR'S LAMENT

The portions of a woman that appeal to Man's depravity Are fashioned with considerable care; And what at first appears to be a common little cavity Is really an elaborate affair. Now doctors of distinction have examined these phenomena In numbers of experimental dames And given to these ornaments of feminine abdomena A number of delightful Latin names: There's the vulva, the vagina and the jolly perineum And the hymen in the case of certain brides; And there's lots of other gadgets you'd just love if you could see'em The clitoris and Christ knows what besides Now isn't it a pity that when common people chatter Of the mysteries to which I have referred That they give to this so vital and so elegant a matter Such a very short and unattractive word.

The Layman's Reply

The eminent authorities who study the geography Of this obscure but interesting land Are able to indulge a taste for feminine topography And view the graphic details close at hand. We ordinary people, though aware of the existence Of complexities beyond the public knowle Are usually content to view the details from a distance And treat them, roughly speaking, as a whole. Moreover when we laymen probe the depths of femininity We exercise a simpler form of touch And do not cloud the issue with superfluous minutia But call the whole concern a such-and-such. For men have made this useful but inelegant commodity The subject of innumerable jibes And while the name they call it by is something of an oddity It seems to fit the object it describes.

The Woman's Retort You erudite philosophers are really rather comical Despite your pseudoscientific facts, For all your heated arguments on matters anatomical Have very little bearing on your acts. You may agree to differ and make learned dissertations On the relative importance of a name, But we women find that when it comes to intimate relations You reactions are essentially the same. Moreover when you analyze, in phrases too meticulous Our relatively simple little vent You overlook the verbiage, so rude and so ridiculous Which designates the gadgets of a gent. But then perhaps it's 'cause you find the emblems of virility So very, very difficult to hide, That your jealousy induces you to scoff at our ability To tuck away our privacies inside.

@medicine @sex filename[ NAMEANAT RG

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Micca
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 04:39 PM

I wonder if at least part of the vaginal reference might not relate to the pre-historic clay female figures found throughout neolithic Europe (but mostly in Ireland) with raised knees and very exagerated vaginas which are always referred to as "Sheila-na-gig" which the usualy render as "sheila of the large vagina"


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 04:45 PM

Micca, I think you have just enlightened the world, given us the key to decode the Australian langage. Yours, Cordially, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Margo
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 05:07 PM

FASCINATING, WONDERFUL! This really is a kick. Yes, language can be construed wrongly because of the vernacular changing from location to location. I had a friend, who when down, was told by a Brit to "keep your pecker up". Of course, she was referring to her chin, not male anatomy. The kicker of the whole situation was that the friend who was down went by the nickname "Muff". Go figure. I'm sitting here chuckling as I write...

Seeing all the definitions of gig, I think probably the answer to the question of it's origin as a musician's job is more mundane and unexciting and not so mysterious. If Garg's dictionary is somewhere correct about the date of it's usage that way, then I would guess it started as some colloquial expression and spread. Look at the way our new gadgets and phenomenae get named and how fast, because of technology, the expressions are adopted by whole countries.

Margo


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Brendy
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 08:47 PM

Try singing Margo's post to the tune of 'Constabulary duties to be done'!


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: _gargoyle
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 11:30 PM

Dave...

............now THAT

.................. is a real addition to the DT files

that should "tickle dick's fancy."


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 03:25 AM

WyoWoman, if you're in the UK you'd call your FP a bum bag. Many people over here fondly (but mistakenly!) believe this is from the US word bum meaning hobo or tramp, instead of the Norse or Anglo-Saxon word meaning, well, bum; and follow the practice of wearing them at the front instead of the back ... so I suppose we could call 'em ... no, that doesn't sound like a good idea!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Penny S.
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 12:13 PM

Sporrans


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: annamill
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 12:49 PM

The feeling I get (since we're only speculating anyway) is that it would come from the word "gigue (zh-long e g) a dance, jig". I can hear a musician saying "I have a dance to do tonight" or " I have to go to a dance tonight" using the word gigue. "I have a gigue to do tonight" or "I have to go to a gigue tonight". I don't know. That seems to make sense.

Love, annap


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 08:11 PM

Maybe some kind person would advise Timbrel of "The Doctors Lament" she may care to sing it in a pub version. Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: WyoWoman
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 11:19 PM

A Lady Sporran? Sporanette? Sporanna? (I sing sporanna, but I sure can't spell ...) A tummy pack? (Perfect gear for wandering far afield, as we have, and so often do...)

I had a friend from England who, on her first night here in the states, asked her landlord to "knock her up around 7 in the morning..." She said he looked for a moment as though he'd like nothing better until he discovered she only meant she'd like to be wakened at that time...

ww


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: sophocleese
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 11:25 PM

Dr. Suess' Sleep Book uses the word fanny to mean the bum. My English cousin had to leave the room when his wife read the book to my kids because he was laughing so hard.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Muriel
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 12:15 AM


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Muriel
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 12:19 AM

I always spelled the fish-catching variety of "gig" with a "j", as in "squid-jigging." And the expression "Sweet Fanny Adams" has a whole new meaning for me now. Also the "Man in the Ice" who was discovered a few years ago, dating from about 5000 years ago, if I remember correctly, was wearing what amounted to a fanny pack, or bum bag if you prefer. Wonder what HE called it?


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Cap't Bob
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 12:54 AM

I really don't know if this would have any connection to the meaning of the word gig but it could possibly provide some connection between the frog/fish gigging and the musical gig. There have been times when we have played for money in a fish bowl. The band usually has to provide their own fish bowl on these occasions. It usually helps to put a few bucks in the fish bowl so the audiance gets the idea and/or their attention. ~~ In ice fishing, jigging means to bounce the bait up and down to get the attention of the fish. If you see any sexual connection here it's your idea not mine....

Cap't Bob


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: emily rain
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 01:10 AM

i no longer have any worries about being the lone nasty letch. thank you all. and now i know. : )


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: WyoWoman
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 01:28 AM

Well, bounce my bait, matey! You gonna play that thing or just dance a gig ... er, uh, jig ... uhn ...

nivver mind


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Pete peterson
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 04:39 PM

I just sang it through to the tune which I call "A policeman's lot is not a happy one" and have lost it about 6X laughing while doing so. I'm going to have to print it out and learn it. Thanks. Thread creep-- God(dess) bless it!


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Micca
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 10:18 PM

Muriel, for heavens sake do not start this lot on the origins of "Sweet Fanny Adams"


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: bassen
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 03:11 PM

Good morning class.

Etymology is sometimes more guesswork than the experts like to admit. My english reference books give the french "gigue" as the origin for "jig"; my french reference books give the english "jig" as the origin for "gigue" in the meaning type of dance, type of tune. However, they refer to an older meaning of the word "gigue", that being an early medieval stringed instrument, one or two strings, played with a bow. This word is given as "probably germanic" in origin, which is often etymologyspeak for "Gee, I dunno". But little bells are ringing. In nordic tradition a gige (GUEE guh) or gigja (GIG yah), was a simple stringed instrument, played with a bow, possibly as a drone accompaniment to saga recitations, or improvisational poetry "kvad". They're mentioned in the sagas, Landnámabok, among other places. In a few western norwegian dialects, gigja was the word used for a regular violin until the middle of the nineteenth century. And a player of this instrument would "gige", as a fiddler fiddles, in English.

"Gig" in english is given as derived from the Middle English "gigge" whirligig, spinning top which again is given as "probably Old Norse in origin". The root of "gigja" seems to be a word meaning to move back and forth, reflecting the use of the bow. In other words, jig and gig probably have the same root. Ultimately, the word is traced as follows: old norse "geiga", move at an angle, swing to the side; also, swaying the upper body. (An old term from the Shetlands, giglet, is cited: this meant: staggering about, gesturing with the arms…maybe that's where gigging really originated…) My books give all kinds of indogermanic and gothic roots, but they're given with asterisks which, if I recall correctly, is neonlighted-on-a-Las-Vegas-scale etymology for "We're really reaching here" so I won't bore you guys with those.

Mister Spaw, when you've finished with your nap, I'd appreciate a written resumé of my lecture, by the end of the day please. Thank you.

P.S. Re gig meaning a boat. I would guess that gig as a vernacular term for the vulva was the key. There's a parallel in norwegian maritime terms, at least. That type of boat was known in norwegian as a "kunte" or a "fitte", which are vernacular norwegian for the vulva, but these words are now no longer in use. I mean can imagine bellowing out, "Sailor, take the skipper ashore in the c***", you wouldn't last a day.

P.P.S I'm not an etymologist. But after having worked in museums for 20 some years, I'm used to speaking at length on subjects about which I know absolutely nothing...

bassen


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: northfolk/al cholger
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 04:16 PM

I'll pass up the obvious question about this gig thread transliterating to...Gee string, and ask all of you to now help me understand what a gigabyte is?

Sorry, but by now most of you know that there are a few of us that won't pass any opportunity for word play...the simpler the better.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: sophocleese
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 05:28 PM

northfolk/al cholger, I suppose the quickest response to "What is a gigabyte?" is "Eat me." Very big grin.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: WyoWoman
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 05:58 PM

Bassen -- I'm a journalist. We possess much the same skill. I call assignments in which you know nothing about the topic but are expected to produce 20 column inches in tomorrow's newspaper a "Gulp 'n' Go." You take a deep breath, grab your notebook, find whatever reference material you can, gulp and GO!!!"

To Northfolk, I would say, "Saturday night out..."


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 06:50 PM

Bassen, greetings, I can assure you some of my sailors would have bellowed "take the C*** ashore in the skipper" Yours, Aye. dave


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Micca
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 07:25 PM

Dave Shouldn't that be "take the C*** ashore in the punt"( except in Ireland where the punt has turned into the currency) and sophocleese you have a wonderfully dirty mind. I applaud you ma'am. Since I am up to my oxters in Robert Heinlein cf Tamara's song thread " Have you ever noticed how much the resemble orchids?" Lazarus Long


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Dave 9the ancient mariner)
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 10:47 PM

Quite right Micca I was'nt thinking cause I've been drinking Bushmills tonight and making a nuisance of myself somewhere else, just got back. TTFN Dave


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: _gargoyle
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 11:13 PM

My experiences....gigging aka jigging....for frogs in northern Maine has been.....

They will jump for ANY bait (may-fly, royal-coachmen, black-knat, brown-wooly, or grey-ghost) they are presented with.

Frogs are like women in heat, they will do a gig with a(policeman, professor, proctologist, or pimp) aka the first available lure.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Art Thieme
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 12:15 AM

From my personal experience, I finally decided the noun "gig" and the verb "to gig" comes from the synonym for laughing quietly'----GIGGLE.

Whenever I'd ask what the job paid, they would tell me and I would "GIGGLE". Then I'd walk the 35 miles to our shanty under a bridge and tell Carol what they had offered me to play 8 sets a night. She, too, would start to giggle ---- but not so quietly. The sounds soon took on a distinctly eerie and pathological tone. After about 20 minutes those squawkings turned into (morphed into) what always sounded like deep and heartwrenching sobs to my ears.

To this day I've never gotten over it.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: sophocleese
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 01:44 AM

Giggling quietly Art. Micca I think there are many who would agree that I have a dirty mind but not as many who would call it 'wonderfully' dirty. Thank you. I have followed this thread with delight as it has rambled and so far the only conclusion I can come to is; gig - a job, especially a booking for a jazz musician, probably Old Norse in origin. Which just starts up some wonderful imagery. Grendel on sax is one, with Grendel's mother quelling too disrespectful audience members.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Micca
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 05:58 AM

Perhaps its a band looking for a gig " Beowulf and the Grendels" on Tour, BTW Dave Its called Old Bushmills because it is milled from genuine old bushes, thats why tthe first thing you say when woken next day is " Leaf me alone"


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 08:33 AM

Micca, I am afraid to say it was seven year old rum that I used to water the Bushmills down that did me in last night. I hope I have'nt posted anything I am going to have to do pennance for? Off to look. Yours,ayyyyeee. Dave


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Little Dorritt
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 05:44 PM

This thread has probably provided us with more information than any of us needed to know! I do remember being similarly troubled by the word 'frig' which I used regularly when I worked in computers, but which had a very different (and sexual) meaning when I was growing up.Similarly, I once remembered seeing an episode of Mork and Mindy when a character was called Mr Wanker - I was with my parents at the time and my mother nearly passed out -two countries divided by a common language eh!


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 06:04 PM

Little Dorritt,I am sure Robin Williams was fully aware of the term Wanker when doing the show, it was obviously one "pulled" over on the USA censor. (no pun intended) Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: poet
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 06:27 PM

I am surprised that no one made reference to what was traditionally offered to british and american soldiers in the middle East. psst tommy/yank you want Jig a Jig with my sister/brother only half a Crown/dollar. I think "never mind the quality feel the width" maybe.

I apologise for the next bit but 1948 Oxford Dictionary defined Prick (old English) sharpening stone for Scythe and sickle. and Cu.. as a small soft leather bag attatched to the belt to keep it in.
What a great thread you do know your all barmy dont you.(big Grin).

Graham (Guernsey)


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 06:57 PM

Many years of wanking on the planking, and frigging in the riggin, you become barmy that way mate. Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: BDenz
Date: 10 Jan 00 - 04:11 PM

It's very hard to laugh quietly at work -- when guffaws wanted to come out while reading this topic [Em pulled me in here -- it's all HER fault], I had to turn them into coughs.

You guys are funny.

And no, Em, you are not the lone lech.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 09:55 PM

Old fun thread.
The term "gig" with respect to an engagement for musicians first appeared in the journal "Melody Maker," in 1927 and 1927.
1926- One popular 'gig' band ....
1927- The seven-piece combination does many 'gigs' in SE London, but is hoping to secure a resident engagement in Leamington...
From the OED, 1987 supplement and in later complete editions.

Looks like the Brits are responsible. Is anyone familiar with the "Melody Maker"?


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Ebbie
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 11:45 PM

Darn- I've forgotten Little Dorritt's name now but you said, "I once remembered seeing an episode of Mork and Mindy when a character was called Mr Wanker - "... That reminds me of what Mork often called Mindy: "Pooter". In the colloquial, dialectical German I grew up with, Pooter was a "little fart."


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Bernard
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 08:45 PM

The explanation I read years ago (but can't remember where) is that the term originated in the Harlem ghetto amongst blues players. A paid booking and 'God Is Good' - hence 'gig'...


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: cunningoldcelt
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 10:10 PM

The way I heard things when I was a small lad in London just after the war was that in the days of music hall (vaudeville to those across the pond) performers like Marie Lloyd could play anything up to five or six halls in an evening. Apparently their acts were only about ten or fifteen minutes long. A normal cab was too wide to get arpound the alleys and back streets of London, so the artist would have a light two wheeled gig and driver waiting outside the stage door to whisk them off to the next hall.
As to the anatomical side, amusing at least but a bit far fetched.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Frankham
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 05:57 PM

I think the term is definitely "African American". It comes from the jazz musician. Wonder if the term has something to do with "getting away with something."(Being paid for doing something that was less than musically demanding.) There was a period in the era of be-bop where a "gig" might be looked at as a necessary evil. A "general business" or "casual" gig would not feature innovative jazz since it would be over the heads of the clients. A wedding gig or a dance gig would be seen as a way to finance the practice time of a dedicated jazz musician who would play at a session. Later, sessions seem to turn into paid gigs. A lot of the late 50's musicians had a disdain for "general business" or "casual" gigs. This changed pretty soon when the "bread" ran out. Even to this day, though, there are jazz players who still think it beneath them to take a "GB" or "Casual". "General Business" is back East whereas "Casual" is California.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: harvey andrews
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 06:23 PM

The way I heard things when I was a small lad in London just after the war was that in the days of music hall (vaudeville to those across the pond) performers like Marie Lloyd could play anything up to five or six halls in an evening. Apparently their acts were only about ten or fifteen minutes long. A normal cab was too wide to get arpound the alleys and back streets of London, so the artist would have a light two wheeled gig and driver waiting outside the stage door to whisk them off to the next hall.

This is my understanding also. Before music hall there were the singing rooms and artistes would do three or four in one night and a gig would be hired to drive them around for the evening.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 06:53 PM

Gargoyle-
"The Doctor's Lament" tickled me many years ago, which is why it's been in DigiTrad for a long time now. With line breaks.


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: michaelr
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 07:14 PM

Aha, COC -- now we're getting somewhere. Thanks for that bit of info; it seems the most likely origin.

To elaborate on bassen's Nordic-language lecture: a fiddle or violin is called a geige (GUY-ga) in German.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Origin of verb 'to gig?'
From: Gurney
Date: 27 Sep 03 - 01:36 AM

Further meanings of the word, in 'GIG' spelling:

A machine for raising cloth, to prepare for dressing.
A boat.
A silly, flighty person.
A machine for winnowing corn.
To hasten along.
A top. A decoy for birds.
A cock. Or maybe a pig's foot. (?)
A fiddle.
To talk or chatter.
A hole in the earth to dry flax in.

As was pointed out above, a hard-working word.


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