shivaree

noun shiv·a·ree \ ˌshi-və-ˈrē , ˈshi-və-ˌrē \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of shivaree

:a noisy mock serenade to a newly married couple

shivaree

transitive verb

shivaree was our Word of the Day on 04/30/2011. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

In 19th century rural America, a newly-married couple might be treated to a mock serenade, performed with pots, pans, homemade instruments, and other noisemakers. Such cacophonous serenades were traditionally considered especially appropriate for second marriages or for unions deemed incongruous because of an age discrepancy or some other cause. In the eastern U.S. this custom, imported from rural England, was simply called a "serenade" or known under various local names. In much of the central U.S. and Canada, however, it was called a "shivaree," a loan from French charivari, which denotes the same folk custom in France. In more recent years, "shivaree" has also developed broader senses; it is sometimes used to mean simply "a cacophony" or "a celebration."

Origin and Etymology of shivaree

modification of French charivari — more at charivari


Learn More about shivaree


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up shivaree? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

pleasing or sweet sound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Forms of Government Quiz

  • knupfer-painting-solon-before-croesus
  • A gerontocracy is rule by:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!