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
There were contrived walker shenanigans, including Rick’s Tarzan routine with the hanging zombie.
Accounting shenanigans are notoriously difficult to uncover, especially for a company like Monsanto, which has annual sales of more than $10 billion and multiple product lines.
Whatever the real reason, the ostensible one was based on the shenanigans of these hostile takeovers, premised in the board’s ability to judge whether a bid was underpriced.
In March, T-Swift employs shenanigans of a Jennifer Lawrence level and photobombs a picture of Karlie and Gigi Hadid.
In 2012, The New York Times ran a piece warning people of the catastrophic fallout that often comes with reporting an employer for financial shenanigans.
A white u-neck t-shirt, a gingham button-up, and a jacket that's totally inoffensive, and instantly removable, for any after-party shenanigans with that gorgeous wife of his.
A depressing trip through the transcripts of my mother-in-law's depositions and trials reveals that most of these shenanigans involve money.
Such modish shenanigans suggest that now, more than ever, the American man is willing to put more fashionability into his closet.
These example sentences are collected from online sources. Help us improve them by sending 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: 1855
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).