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See more synonyms for shebang on Thesaurus.com
  1. Informal. the structure of something, as of an organization, contrivance, or affair: The whole shebang fell apart when the chairman quit.
  2. a primitive dwelling; shack; shanty.
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Origin of shebang

1860–65, Americanism; origin uncertain (perhaps alteration of char-À-banc, though sense shift unclear; shebeen, often cited as the source, is implausible both phonetically and semantically)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shebang

bevy, group, crowd, cluster, mess, chunk, flock, number, bundle, batch, band, pile, gang, lot, assemblage, mob, assortment, crew, stack, multitude

Examples from the Web for shebang

Historical Examples of shebang

  • Nothin'll be too good for this shebang and us if we get that agreement back.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Say, how do you get into the female department of this shebang, anyhow?

    A Quarter-Back's Pluck

    Lester Chadwick

  • She runs the shebang, and there's two of her sons by her first husband in it.

  • I ain't fit to run this shebang, so we need you, and need you bad.

  • "I say, there are no secrets in this shebang," he said smiling.

    The Battle Ground

    Ellen Glasgow

British Dictionary definitions for shebang


noun slang
  1. a situation, matter, or affair (esp in the phrase the whole shebang)
  2. a hut or shack
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Word Origin for shebang

C19: of uncertain 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 shebang


1862, "hut, shed, shelter," popularized among soldiers in the U.S. Civil War, but like other Civil War slang (e.g. skedaddle) of uncertain origin. Perhaps an alteration of shebeen (q.v.), but shebang in the sense "tavern," a seemingly necessary transitional sense, is not attested before 1878 and shebeen seems to have been not much used in the U.S. Bartlett's 1877 edition describes it as "A strange word that had its origin during the late civil war. It is applied alike to a room, a shop, or a hut, a tent, a cabin; an engine house." Phrase the whole shebang first recorded 1869, but relation to the earlier use of the word is obscure. Either or both senses also might be mangled pronunciations of French char-à-banc, a bus-like wagon with many seats. For an older guess:

[Shebang] used even yet by students of Yale College and elsewhere to designate their rooms, or a theatrical or other performance in a public hall, has its origin probably in a corruption of the French cabane, a hut, familiar to the troops that came from Louisiana, and constantly used in the Confederate camp for the simple huts, which they built with such alacrity and skill for their winter quarters. The constant intercourse between the outposts soon made the term familiar to the Federal army also. ["Americanisms: The English of the New World," Maximillian Schele De Vere, New York, Charles Scribner & Co., 1872.]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper