Thursday, January 29, 2009

can you define shenanigans?

Shenanigan (noun)

Pronunciation: [shê-'næn-ê-gên]

Definition: (Colloquial) A playful or mischievous act; a prank; a
secret scheme or machination.

Usage: Today's word is more usually used in the plural: "Keep an eye
on Chastity; she is always up to some kind of shenanigans." It is an
orphaned oddity in the language with no other words that would admit
to kinship.

Suggested Usage: This is not a word used in formal English but is
common in colloquial English. Shenanigans are usually something people
are up to, "Will we ever know what sort of shenanigans the financial
officers of Enron were really up to?" When anything of value is at
stake, shenanigans are something you would want to cut out: "Cut out
the shenanigans with the cards up your sleeve, Sharkey, and let's play

Etymology: Although the word sounds a lot like "she-nanny-goat" and
even though goats are associated with prankishness, there is no
evidence of any association between these words and today's.
"Shenanigan" was first recorded in 1855 in California, which has led
to speculation that it is related to Spanish chanada "trick" or the
German schinaglen "to trick." In all probability, though, it was
another word brought over by our Irish brethren: Gaelic sionnachuighim
"I play the fox," which is to say, "I play tricks."

No comments: