- a social gathering or informal concert featuring folk singing and, sometimes, dancing.
- an informal session at which folk singers and instrumentalists perform for their own enjoyment.
- Older Use. a thingumbob.
Origin of hootenanny
First recorded in 1910–15; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for hootenanny
The first four letters in hootenanny spell hoot -- and The Seeger Sessions was fun -- with a purpose.Springsteen, Seeger, and the Joy of Political Music
February 2, 2014
The hootenanny on political websites about the contest being up for grabs is shilling for advertising dollars.Newt Gingrich, Comic Diva: His New Reign of Terror
January 23, 2012
- an informal performance by folk singers
- mainly US something the name of which is unspecified or forgotten
C20: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for hootenanny
"informal session of folk musicians," 1940, American English, earlier "a gadget" (1927), of unknown origin, perhaps a nonsense word.
Another device used by the professional car thief, and one recently developed to perfection, according to a large Chicago lock-testing laboratory, is a "hootenanny," so-called by the criminals using it. ["Popular Mechanics," February 1931]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper