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20 comments on this post.
  1. Barry:

    Another use of “gig” is gig’em (gig them) Aggies (Tex A & M cheer). Also to give someone a demerit in the milatary. Probably related to the above, the line of the shirt and pants zipper is called a gig line.
    It has also become short for Gibabite.

  2. ed tronce:

    your theories are wrong …back in the 1920s blues musicians had a hard time finding work,when one came along”God Is Good”was the phrase uttered by many of them.hence the acronym “GIG”

  3. anthony:

    It is hard to ignore the earlier incarnations of the word and then to skip to 1926 as if it magically appeared. Sorry ed, no soap for your perspective

  4. Deborah:

    Sorry Anthony…you lose……..Ed is correct. Do your homework.

  5. Marc:

    Not everything has to be related to religion…

    The main description seems to have more realistic sources. (less fairytales too.)

  6. Tony:

    I’ve wondered whether it’s related to the German word “Geig”, which means a violin or fiddle (both, incidentally, derived from the Latin “fidula”). A German-speaking player might say, for instance, “Heute Nacht werde ich geigen”, meaning “I’m going to be fiddling tonight”. Possibly a complete red herring, but just a thought.

    Here’s another: if you check out the number of violinists in a German orchestra, does that make you a Geiger-counter?

  7. Carmelita Sachez:

    As long as chocolate is involved, I’ll eat any baked good!

  8. Cliff Sloane:

    I would support the French origins of “gig”. It links up with the jazz historian POV that jazz is closely tied to French military bands, more so than the blues. Evidence for my wild speculation would be any printed playlists for such ensembles from French-speaking areas of the USA (Cape Girardeau south to New Orleans) in which gigues are played.


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  10. Gordon Hudson:

    I think the word gig came from short for gigle meaning doing a booking but not taken seriously simply a giggle

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  12. Mike:

    Amazing that this has apparently been lost in time…but it’s been known in my family that the origin of “gig” in modern usage since early Jazz 1900-onwards originally was a shortened version of “Get It Going” & was likely referred to as a G.I.G to begin with.

    I don’t believe that this is referred to anywhere on the internet.

    Source: been known in my family for several generations!

  13. Steve York:

    In the 20’s and 30’s there was a severe lack of venues for black entertainers in the southern US. An enterprising gentleman by the name of Denver Ferguson settled in Indianapolis and bought a modest printing press. In addition to normal business he used the press to start a “numbers” racket. He printed baseball cards which the customers used to write in their three digit numbers selections.If the police searched them they just said that they were keeping track of baseball scores. Denver made a heap of money and invested in a night club. He realized that there were few venues for black artists in the smaller towns and sent a few of his numbers runners out to recruit black entrepreneurs including doctors and other professionals to find venues of any nature to stage concerts and dances. Denver would provide the bands and all printed material such as promo leaflets, posters and tickets, thereby starting the first booking agency for black entertainers in the South.This eventually grew into the early days of what became known as the”chitlin’ circuit”, a mainstay for touring swing big bands and later blues and early rock and roll groups.The connection with the word “gig”? The three digit number that people wrote on the betting card was known as a “gig”, giving a whole new meaning to “my gig didn’t pay much” or “I had a great gig” or ” I’ve got a gig for you!”. Denver Ferguson started booking bands in the early to mid 20’s so the 1926 date would tie in. I’ve always found the “gigue” connection to be somewhat unlikely.

  14. Sidney:

    Enthralled by the information that can come from a three letter word.

  15. douglas:

    The term Gig came from the word Giggle or having some fun or having a blast.

  16. Ron:

    GIG. Go back to just after the second world war about 1946/8. The boy scouts had a very good leader Ralf Reader ex RAF. Who put on The Gang Show to cheer the people up and bring attention to the scouts. He suggested that the local area scouts should form a dance music get together with parents and friends. As best as they could the scouts played what ever they lay their hands on. Washboard, tea chest, tin cans and if lucky piano violin banjo and drums, some parents had good musical skills. Singing was top of the list. This became a regular Giggle as the scouts called it. It later was shortened to the word GIG, Friday/Saturday night giggle. The popular music people got of the word GIG and used it as their own. Thanks to the boy scouts, who many were in the first pop/skiffle groups, the word GIG arrived.

  17. peter:

    I believe the term gig when used by a “rock” band comes from the word giggle. This was a term used in England on the 50s and 60s for having a good the. Lets go for a giggle.

  18. Cornelia S Cree:

    This makes the most sense to m e. given American penchant for acronyms and the black musicians coming out of the church. Even today acronyms can become shorter – such as ASAP now being pronounced A-sap.

  19. Richard:

    Another use, in Australia from at least as early as the 1950s onwards, was by some police – a gig was an informant, a criminal who provided information, often in return for a degree of leniency from the police, or a willingness by the police to overlook minor crimes

  20. April Schmitt:

    Why has no one mentioned a gig list, what are those origins?

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