Definition of shenanigan
1 : a devious trick used especially for an underhand purpose
2a : tricky or questionable practices or conduct —usually used in pluralb : high-spirited or mischievous activity —usually used in plural
shenanigan was our Word of the Day on 04/01/2008. Hear the podcast!
Examples of shenanigan in a Sentence
students engaging in youthful shenanigans on the last day of school
an act of vandalism that went way beyond the usual shenanigans at summer camp
Recent Examples of shenanigan from the Web
His shenanigans often irked players — in 1979 Yankees outfielder Lou Piniella threw his glove and screamed at the cantankerous chicken on the way out to his defensive position during a loss in Seattle — and paved the way for copycats.
The series, penned by Everybody Hates Chris writer Aeysha Carr, follows the day-to-day life and nighttime shenanigans of working in a recording studio.
Teams are issued warnings that the next purpose pitch will lead to an ejection, and the shenanigans typically stop.
Get a room with a balcony that overlooks all the wild shenanigans or a less rowdy view overlooking the gorgeous courtyard.
Fingers-crossed that this means similar shenanigans from the two on stage tonight.
Now Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel is preparing to take his feuding shenanigans with Oscar winner Matt Damon to the next level.
Whether these shenanigans actually work is another question.
Most seductive are the ribald, cartoonish, exquisitely colored paintings depicting shenanigans that frequently include women in bloomers, or less.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shenanigan'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The history of shenanigan is as tricky and mischievous as its meaning. Etymologists have some theories about its origins, but no one has been able to prove them. All we can say for certain is that the earliest known use of the word in print appeared in the April 25, 1855, issue of San Francisco's Town Talk. Although the "underhanded trick" sense of the word is oldest, the most common senses in use now are "tricky or questionable practices" (as in "political shenanigans") and "high-spirited behavior" (as in "youthful shenanigans").
Origin and Etymology of shenanigan
First Known Use: 1855See Words from the same year
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up shenanigan? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).