Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Of uncertain origin. These possibilities have been suggested:
- Irish sionnachuighim (“I play the fox”).
- Spanish chanada, a shortening of charranada (“trick", "deceit”).
- Palatinate German schinägeln (“to work hard”), from the peddler's argot term Schenigelei ("work").
- French ces manigances (“these fraudulent schemes”).
- Persian شیطنت, sheitanat (“to fool around for fun”).
shenanigan (plural shenanigans)
- (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (uncountable) Trickery, games; skulduggery. To "call", "claim" or "declare" shenanigans is to rhetorically label something as officially deceitful, improper, or otherwise incorrect.
- "The advertisement said it would cost $50 but they charged me $75 at the register. I declare shenanigans." The speaker passes off the statement as having some sort of implied official effect, but in reality, it is simply a complaint.
- (countable) A deceitful confidence trick, or mischief causing discomfort or annoyance.
- You should learn to spot their shenanigans and avoid being fooled.
- (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (uncountable) Mischievous play, especially by children.
- Billy and Tom are playing noisily upstairs again. They're up to their usual shenanigans.
- The plural is much more commonly used than the singular.
trickery, games; skulduggery