from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Used as a disparaging term for a black person.
  • noun Any of various lively dances in triple time.
  • noun The music for such a dance.
  • noun A joke or trick. Used chiefly in the phrase The jig is up.
  • noun A typically metal fishing lure with one or more hooks, usually deployed with a jiggling motion on or near the bottom.
  • noun An apparatus for cleaning or separating crushed ore by agitation in water.
  • noun A device for guiding a tool or for holding machine work in place.
  • intransitive verb To dance or play a jig.
  • intransitive verb To move or bob up and down jerkily and rapidly.
  • intransitive verb To operate a jig.
  • intransitive verb To bob or jerk (something) up and down or to and fro.
  • intransitive verb To machine (an object) with the aid of a jig.
  • intransitive verb To separate or clean (ore) by shaking a jig.
  • idiom (in jig time) Very quickly; rapidly.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A rapid, irregular dance for one or more persons, performed in different ways in different countries; a modification of the country-dance.
  • noun Music for such a dance or in its rhythm, which is usually triple and rapid: often used in the eighteenth century as a component of a suite.
  • noun A lively song; a catch.
  • noun A kind of entertainment in rime, partly sung and partly recited.
  • noun A piece of sport; a prank; a trick.
  • noun A small, light mechanical contrivance: same as jigger, 2: used especially in composition: as, a drilling-jig, shaving-jig, etc.
  • To play or dance a jig.
  • To move skippingly or friskily; hop about; act or vibrate in a lively manner. Compre jigget.
  • To use a jig in fishing; fish with a jig: as, to jig for bluefish.
  • To sing in jig time; sing as a jig.
  • To jerk, jolt, or shake; cause to move by jogs or jolts.
  • To produce an up-and-down motion in.
  • In metallurgy, to separate the heavier metalliferous portion of (the mingled ore and rock or veinstone obtained in mining) from the lighter or earthy portions, by means of a jig or jigging-machine.
  • To catch (a fish) by jerking a hook into its body.
  • In felting, to harden and condense by repeated blows from rods.
  • In well-boring, to drill with a spring-pole.
  • To trick; cheat; impose; upon; bamboozle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To sing to the tune of a jig.
  • transitive verb To trick or cheat; to cajole; to delude.
  • transitive verb (Mining) To sort or separate, as ore in a jigger or sieve. See Jigging, n.
  • transitive verb (Metal Working) To cut or form, as a piece of metal, in a jigging machine.
  • noun (Mus.) A light, brisk musical movement.
  • noun obsolete A light, humorous piece of writing, esp. in rhyme; a farce in verse; a ballad.
  • noun obsolete A piece of sport; a trick; a prank.
  • noun A trolling bait, consisting of a bright spoon and a hook attached.
  • noun (Metal Working) A small machine or handy tool.
  • noun (Mining) An apparatus or a machine for jigging ore.
  • noun a jig for guiding a drill. See Jig, 6 (a).
  • noun (Metal Working) a process of drilling or filing in which the action of the tool is directed or limited by a jig.
  • noun a sawing machine with a narrow, vertically reciprocating saw, used to cut curved and irregular lines, or ornamental patterns in openwork, a scroll saw; -- called also gig saw.
  • intransitive verb To dance a jig; to skip about.
  • intransitive verb To move with a skip or rhythm; to move with vibrations or jerks.


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

[Probably shortening of jigaboo.]

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

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

An assimilated form of earlier gig, from Middle English gigge, from Old French gige, gigue ("a fiddle, kind of dance"), from Frankish *gīge (“dance, fiddle”), from Proto-Germanic *gīganan (“to move, wish, desire”), from Proto-Indo-European *gheiǵh-, *gheigh- (“to yawn, gape, long for, desire”). Cognate with Middle Dutch ghighe ("fiddle"), German Geige ("fiddle, violin"), Danish gige ("fiddle"), Icelandic gigja ("fiddle"). More at gig, geg.



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  • In the collieries, an incline that was constructed so that corves (baskets) full of coal traveling down the pull would haul empty corves up.

    September 21, 2011