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shenanigan +‎ -s.



shenanigans pl (normally plural, singular shenanigan)

  1. (uncountable) Mischievous play, especially by children. [from mid 19th c.]
    Shanti and Tom are playing noisily upstairs again. They’re up to their usual shenanigans.
    • 1890, Kate Chopin, “Perplexing Things”, in At Fault. A Novel, St. Louis, Mo.: Nixon-Jones Printing Co., OCLC 19106295, page 159:
      Well, I'm not the woman to stand any shenanigans from a child of mine. I could name you dead loads of women that are just completely walked over by their children.
  2. (uncountable) Deceitful tricks; trickery, games. [from mid 19th c.]
    You should learn to spot their shenanigans and avoid being fooled.
    The advertisement said it would cost $50, but they charged me $75 at the register. I declare shenanigans.
    • 1855 September, “Mr. Soap’s Yachting Excursion”, in Yankee Notions, volume IV, number 9, New York, N.Y.: Published by T. W. Strong, 98 Nassau-st., OCLC 32423418, page 280:
      One of Professor [John] Moon's most astonishing "experiments," consisted of holding a watch suspended from a short chain at arm's length, and allowing anyone in the pit to pull pistol and "blaze away" at the word "fire," whereupon the watch would most unconscionably disappear. An individual who had attended several evenings and witnessed the "experiment," suspected, in the classic language of the times, that there was something of "shenanigan" in it.
    • [1877], Cha[rle]s H. Sparks, “Political History”, in History of Winneshiek County, with Biographical Sketches of Its Eminent Men, Decorah, Iowa: Jas. Alex. Leonard, OCLC 995345986, page 31:
      There are stories still told how money was used and promised, but from the best knowledge I can acquire, I think this is not true. If sharp practice was played, and "shenanigan" was used, we, to-day, looking back upon those times, cannot say that evil has come of it.
    • 1921, William M. McCoy, “At the Shrine of Faith”, in The Valley of the Sun, New York, N.Y.: A. L. Burt Company; published by arrangement with The H. K. Fly Company, OCLC 18477627, pages 77–78:
      And you remember that she is a pal of ours, and you're to act like a gentleman, no shenanigans, or I'll skin you alive!
    • 1993, Edward Toman, chapter 9, in Shambles Corner, London: Flamingo, HarperCollins, →ISBN, page 125:
      On the table top behind him lay the letter from the Vatican. It was what he had dreaded. Shenanigans like that don't go for long unnoticed. Canon Tom may have provided the Church with a touch of class, but when the chips were down, he was expendable.
    • 2017 November 10, Zachary Brennan, “Gottlieb: ‘End the shenanigans’ on slow-playing REMS to delay generic drug competition”, in Endpoints News[1], archived from the original on 11 March 2018:
      FDA [Food and Drug Administration] commissioner Scott Gottlieb yesterday called on brand name drug companies to "end the shenanigans" that restrict generic drug competition, specifically pointing to the tactic of slow-playing shared Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) terms intended to prevent generic manufacturers from purchasing drug products needed to run bioequivalence or bioavailability studies that FDA approval requires.
    • 2017 December 13, Courtney Connley, “Meryl Streep on Weinstein: If more women were in leadership ‘the shenanigans wouldn't have occurred’”, in CNBC[2], archived from the original on 13 December 2017:
      In a panel discussion at BuzzFeed's office, Oscar-winner Meryl Streep told "The Post" director Steven Spielberg and co-star Tom Hanks that settlements like those paid to Harvey Weinstein's accusers would not have been necessary if more women held positions of power. "If the boards of the company were half female, there wouldn't ever have been payoffs to anybody," Streep said. "None of this – the shenanigans wouldn't have occurred."
  3. (countable) plural of shenanigan.


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