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Word of the Day
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Definitions for shivaree

  1. a mock serenade with kettles, pans, horns, and other noisemakers given for a newly married couple; charivari.
  2. Informal. an elaborate, noisy celebration.
  3. to serenade with a shivaree.

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Citations for shivaree
So in blind desperation I started such a rattling "shivaree" down below as never had astounded an engineer in this world before, I fancy. Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, 1883
Guests used to bring thin layers of molasses cake to a wedding. The bride's mother or aunts stacked the layers upon one another, cementing them with apple butter or jam. You could tell how popular a couple was by the height of their "stack cake." When I lived there the stack-cake custom had gone the way of the local version of a shivaree, when neighbors would collect the bride and groom on their wedding night and run them down the railroad tracks in a wheelbarrow. Mary Beth Baptiste, "My Turn: Love on a Shoestring: Our $150 Wedding," Newsweek, May 20, 2007
Origin of shivaree
Shivareeis an Americanism that entered English in the 1800s from the French charivari, which in turn is thought to derive from the Latin carībaria meaning “headache” on the hypothesis that such a noisy procession would cause a headache.