• synonyms


[shuh-nan-i-guh n]
See more synonyms for shenanigan on Thesaurus.com
noun Informal.
  1. Usually shenanigans.
    1. mischief; prankishness: Halloween shenanigans.
    2. deceit; trickery.
  2. a mischievous or deceitful trick, practice, etc.
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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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for shenanigan

Historical Examples

  • I'll darn soon show ye what's the matter with me, you come any o' your shenanigan around here.

    Back Home

    Eugene Wood

  • He was a bold man who attempted any shenanigan with Mart Haney, and the games of his halls were reported honest.

    Money Magic

    Hamlin Garland

British Dictionary definitions for shenanigan


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


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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper