Of uncertain origin. Some theories pose its origin in Middle English gige or Middle English *gygge (found in Middle English whyrlegygge), akin to Old Norse gígja ("fiddle") and German Geige. In Irish, the word gíog is an onomatopoeia meaning "chirp, tweet, squeak". However, none offers established continuity with the present sense. The earliest usage of the word gig in the sense of “any, usual temporary, paid job” found by linguist Geoffrey Nunberg is from a 1952 piece by Jack Kerouac about his gig as a part-time brakeman for the Southern Pacific railroad.