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shenanigan

[shuh-nan-i-guh n]
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noun Informal.
  1. Usually shenanigans.
    1. mischief; prankishness: Halloween shenanigans.
    2. deceit; trickery.
  2. a mischievous or deceitful trick, practice, etc.

Origin of shenanigan

An Americanism dating back to 1850–55; of obscure origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for shenanigans

shenanigan

noun informal
  1. (usually plural) roguishness; mischief
  2. an act of treachery; deception

Word Origin

C19: 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 shenanigans

n.

see shenanigan.

shenanigan

n.

1855, of uncertain origin. Earliest records of it are in San Francisco and Sacramento, California, U.S. Suggestions include Spanish chanada, a shortened form of charranada "trick, deceit;" or, less likely, German Schenigelei, peddler's argot for "work, craft," or the related German slang verb schinäglen. Another guess centers on Irish sionnach "fox."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper