A six-oared pilot gig at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly




  • To fish or catch with a gig, or fish spear.
  • To engage in musical performances.
  • To make fun of; to make a joke at someone's expense, often condescending.
  • To impose a demerit for an infraction of a dress or deportment code.


Similar words


  • 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.
  • Clipping of giga-, as in gigabyte, gigaunit, etc.
  • From Middle English gigge, from Old French gigues ("a gay, lively girl"), from Old Norse gikkr ("a pert person"), related to Danish gjæk, Swedish gäck. More at geck.

Modern English dictionary

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