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Etymology 1[edit]

Unknown. Derivation from Middle English gyge (fiddle), from Old French gigue (a fiddle) has been proposed, but the connection and sense development are obscure. The sense “a type of dance” of modern French gigue is borrowed from English.


jig (plural jigs)

  1. (music) A light, brisk musical movement; a gigue.
  2. (traditional Irish music and dance) A lively dance in 6/8 (double jig), 9/8 (slip jig) or 12/8 (single jig) time; a tune suitable for such a dance. By extension, a lively traditional tune in any of these time signatures. Unqualified, the term is usually taken to refer to a double (6/8) jig.
    They danced a jig.
    • 2012 November 15, Tom Lamont, “How Mumford & Sons became the biggest band in the world”, in The Daily Telegraph[1]:
      Soon Marshall is doing an elaborate foot-to-foot jig, and then they're all bounding around. Shoulder dips. Yee-ha faces. It's an impromptu hoedown.
  3. (traditional English Morris dance) A dance performed by one or sometimes two individual dancers, as opposed to a dance performed by a set or team.
  4. (fishing) A type of lure consisting of a hook molded into a weight, usually with a bright or colorful body.
  5. A device in manufacturing, woodworking, or other creative endeavors for controlling the location, path of movement, or both of either a workpiece or the tool that is operating upon it. Subsets of this general class include machining jigs, woodworking jigs, welders' jigs, jewelers' jigs, and many others.
    Cutting circles out of pinewood is best done with a compass-style jig.
    • 1959 March, “The 2,500 h.p. electric locomotives for the Kent Coast electrification”, in Trains Illustrated, page 125:
      The bodywork employs, where possible, the same constructional methods as for the standard B.R. coaching stock, in order to utilise existing jigs and press tools.
  6. (mining) An apparatus or machine for jigging ore.
  7. (obsolete) A light, humorous piece of writing, especially in rhyme; a farce in verse; a ballad.
  8. (obsolete) A trick; a prank.
    • 1635, James Shirley, The Coronation:
      This Innovation? Is't not a fine Jigg? / A precious cunning in the late Protector / To shuffle a new Prince into the State.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


jig (third-person singular simple present jigs, present participle jigging, simple past and past participle jigged)

  1. To move briskly, especially as a dance.
    The guests were jigging around on the dance floor.
  2. To move with a skip or rhythm; to move with vibrations or jerks.
    • 1893, Rudyard Kipling, The White Seal:
      [] and the fin would jig off slowly, as if it were looking for nothing at all.
  3. (fishing) To fish with a jig.
  4. To sing to the tune of a jig.
  5. To trick or cheat; to cajole; to delude.
    • 1633, Iohn Ford [i.e., John Ford], Loues Sacrifice. A Tragedie [], London: [] I[ohn] B[eale] for Hugh Beeston, [], →OCLC, (please specify the page):
      Make thy moan to ballad singers and rhymers ; they'll jig out thy wretchedness and abominations to new tunes
  6. (mining) To sort or separate, as ore in a jigger or sieve.
  7. To cut or form, as a piece of metal, in a jigging machine.
  8. To skip school or be truant (Australia, Canadian Maritimes)
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

Probably a clipping of jigaboo,[1] of uncertain origin, perhaps an African/Bantu word. Alternatively, jigaboo may be derived from jig (dance).


jig (plural jigs)

  1. (US, offensive, slang, dated, ethnic slur) A black person.
    • a. 1969, John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces, Penguin, published 1981, →ISBN:
      “You got a new jig, huh?” The boy looked out at Jones through his swirls of oiled hair. “What happened to the last one? He die or something?”
    • 2011, Andrew Lithgow, Retribution[2], →ISBN, page 228:
      “…Lucky for me he wasn’t a jig, otherwise I couldn’t have done it.”
      “Nigger. Afro American.” His voice was heavy with sarcasm.


  1. ^ Tony Thorne (2014) Dictionary of Contemporary Slang, page 240



jig n (plural jiguri)

  1. Obsolete form of jeg.



  • jig in Academia Română, Micul dicționar academic, ediția a II-a, Bucharest: Univers Enciclopedic, 2010. →ISBN