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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A light, two-wheeled carriage drawn by one horse.
  • n. Nautical A long light ship's boat, usually reserved for use by the ship's captain.
  • n. Nautical A fast light rowboat.
  • n. An object that whirls.
  • n. Games A three-digit selection in a numbers game.
  • intransitive v. To ride in a gig.
  • n. An arrangement of barbless hooks that is dragged through a school of fish to hook them in their bodies.
  • n. A pronged spear for fishing or catching frogs.
  • transitive v. To fish for or catch with a gig.
  • intransitive v. To catch a fish or frog with a gig.
  • n. A demerit given in the military.
  • transitive v. To give a military demerit to.
  • n. A job, especially a booking for musicians.
  • intransitive v. To work as a musician: "gigging weekends as a piano player in the ski joints” ( Joel Oppenheimer).
  • n. Informal A gigabyte.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A performing engagement by a musical group; or, generally, any job or role for a musician or performer.
  • n. Any job; especially one that is temporary; or alternately, one that is very desirable.
  • n. A two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage.
  • n. A forked spear for catching fish, frogs, or other small animals.
  • n. A six-oared sea rowing boat commonly found in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
  • v. To catch with a gig.
  • v. To engage in musical performances.
  • v. To make fun of; to make a joke at someone's expense, often condescending.
  • v. To impose a demerit for an infraction of a U.S. Military dress or deportment code" as in: "His Sergeant gigged him for an unmade bunk."
  • n. A gigabyte.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A fiddle.
  • transitive v. To engender.
  • n. A kind of spear or harpoon. See fishgig.
  • transitive v. To fish with a gig.
  • n. A playful or wanton girl; a giglot.
  • n. A top or whirligig; any little thing that is whirled round in play.
  • n. A light carriage, with one pair of wheels, drawn by one horse; a kind of chaise.
  • n. A long, light rowboat, generally clinkerbuilt, and designed to be fast; a boat appropriated to the use of the commanding officer.
  • n. A rotatory cylinder, covered with wire teeth or teasels, for teaseling woolen cloth.
  • n. A job for a specified, usually short period of time; -- used especially for the temporary engagements of an entertainer, such as a jazz musician or a rock group.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A fiddle.
  • n. A whirling or rustling sound, as that made by the blowing of wind through the branches of trees.
  • n. Something that is whirled or moves or acts with rapidity and ease. Specifically — A top; a whirligig.
  • n. A light carriage with one pair of wheels and drawn by one horse; a one-horse chaise.
  • n. Nautical, a long narrow rowing-boat, very lightly built, adapted for racing; also, a ship's boat suited for fast rowing, and generally furnished with sails: in the United States navy, a single-banked boat, usually pulling six oars, devoted to the use of the commanding officer.
  • n. A machine consisting of rotatory cylinders covered with wire teeth for teazeling woolen cloth. See gigging-machine.
  • n. Sport; fun; lively time.
  • To move up and down or spin round; wriggle.
  • To fasten the leather strap to the shield.
  • In machinery, to use a gig or gigging-machine. See gig, n., 3 .
  • To move lightly or rapidly; impart a free, easy motion to.
  • n. A fishing-spear; a fishgig.
  • n. A device for taking fish, a kind of pulldevil designed to be dragged through the water.
  • To spear with a gig, as a fish.
  • To fish with a gig or fishgig.
  • n. A wanton, silly girl; a flighty person. See giglet.
  • To engender.
  • n. In machine-shop practice, a portable appliance for holding a piece of metal upon a machine and presenting it, successively, in two or more positions, to the cutting-tools: also used to assist in guiding the tools to the work. It is made in many forms and is used upon a great variety of machines. It is commonly employed in making standard parts of machines, tools, or motors.
  • n. In policy, a special combination of three numbers. See policy, 3.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. tender that is a light ship's boat; often for personal use of captain
  • n. a booking for musicians
  • n. an implement with a shaft and barbed point used for catching fish
  • n. small two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage; with two seats and no hood
  • n. a cluster of hooks (without barbs) that is drawn through a school of fish to hook their bodies; used when fish are not biting
  • n. long and light rowing boat; especially for racing


Perhaps from obsolete gig, spinning top, from Middle English gyg-, possibly of Scandinavian origin.
Short for fishgig.
Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Akin to Old Norse gigia ("fiddle") and German Geige ("violin"). (Wiktionary)
A shortening of gigabyte. (Wiktionary)



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  • "A Gig, is a long narrow boat, used for expedition, generally rowed with six or eight oars, and is mostly the private property of the captain, or commander."
    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 47

    A quite different usage on barouche.

    October 11, 2008