shiv·​a·​ree | \ ˌshi-və-ˈrē How to pronounce shivaree (audio) , ˈshi-və-ˌrē \

Definition of shivaree

: a noisy mock serenade to a newly married couple

Other Words from shivaree

shivaree transitive verb

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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."

First Known Use of shivaree

1843, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for shivaree

modification of French charivari — more at charivari

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The first known use of shivaree was in 1843

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Cite this Entry

“Shivaree.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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