Definitions

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

  • noun A noisy mock serenade for newlyweds.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To salute with a mock serenade.
  • noun A corruption of charivari.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The noisy banging of pots and pans as a mock serenade to a newly married couple, or similar occasion.
  • noun Any loud cacophonous noise or hubbub.

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

  • noun a noisy mock serenade (made by banging pans and kettles) to a newly married couple

Etymologies

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

[Alteration of charivari.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French charivari

Examples

  • The word shivaree is especially common along and west of the Mississippi River.

    The WELL: Sugaree

  • Right, but I did once read that Sugaree per Lizabeth Cotton (Cotten?) was dervied ultimately from shivaree which is I believe an south asian or middle eastern word?

    The WELL: Sugaree

  • It became a custom, in anticipation of a "shivaree," to send round word to Mrs. Ferris not to be afraid, the shooting was all in fun.

    Roosevelt in the Bad Lands

  • Well, anyway, when Bill and the girl got married, the boys came to 'shivaree' them.

    The Second Chance

  • Well, anyway, when Bill and the girl got married, the boys came to 'shivaree' them.

    The Second Chance

  • I came to tell you that there's a scheme to raise -- to 'shivaree' you two, tonight.

    Lonesome Land

  • So in blind desperation I started such a rattling 'shivaree' down below as never had astounded an engineer in this world before, I fancy.

    Life on the Mississippi, Part 2.

  • So in blind desperation I started such a rattling 'shivaree' down below as never had astounded an engineer in this world before, I fancy.

    Life on the Mississippi

  • So in blind desperation I started such a rattling 'shivaree' down below as never had astounded an engineer in this world before, I fancy.

    Life on the Mississippi

  • I've helped run people's underwear up flag poles, put garlic on toothbrushes, books in pillows, broken crackers in beds (does anyone else still remember a "shivaree"?), and short-sheeted beds.

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Comments

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  • Do shivarees give you the goosebumps?

    September 23, 2008

  • A "noisy mock serenade for newlyweds," probably deriving in turn from a Late Latin word meaning "headache."

    Also called regionally charivari, belling, horning, serenade.

    From the French "charivari," most likely borrowed from French traders and settlers along the Mississippi River

    An 1805 account describes a shivaree in New Orleans:

    "The house is mobbed by thousands of the people of the town, vociferating and shouting with loud acclaim.... Many are in disguises and masks; and all have some kind of discordant and noisy music, such as old kettles, and shovels, and tongs.... All civil authority and rule seems laid aside" (John F. Watson).

    The word shivaree is especially common along and west of the Mississippi River.

    Regional equivalents:

    ~belling: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan

    ~horning: upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania, western New England

    January 17, 2009

  • "Another time, he might have been interested to see a shivaree, and trace all the roots of it from French and Highland customs—but not bloody now."

    —Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (NY: Bantam Dell, 2001), 701

    January 26, 2010