9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[shuh-nan-i-guh n] /ʃəˈnæn ɪ gən/
noun, Informal.
Usually, shenanigans.
  1. mischief; prankishness:
    Halloween shenanigans.
  2. deceit; trickery.
a mischievous or deceitful trick, practice, etc.
Origin of shenanigan
1850-55, Americanism; of obscure origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for shenanigans
  • He discloses a number of these governmental shenanigans that will make your hair turn gray.
  • The public is starting to view the shenanigans of the alarmist scientists with a jaundiced eye.
  • Shortcuts through space, if only for information, make possible all kinds of counterintuitive shenanigans.
  • The recession is uncovering a lot of shenanigans, as recessions usually do.
  • Receptors aren't built to adapt to our random shenanigans.
  • We have, however, long protested about his second failing: his financial shenanigans.
  • His fictional accounts of the shenanigans in representative offices rang all too true.
  • The public, which had been largely uninterested in the shenanigans to that point, was revolted.
  • Financial shenanigans are not the sole province of the banking industry.
  • shenanigans are allowed, strategies can be tried, selves can be revised.
British Dictionary definitions for shenanigans


noun (informal)
(usually pl) roguishness; mischief
an act of treachery; deception
Word Origin
C19: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shenanigans

see shenanigan.



1855, of uncertain origin. Earliest records of it are in San Francisco and Sacramento, California, U.S. Suggestions include Spanish chanada, a shortened form of charranada "trick, deceit;" or, less likely, German Schenigelei, peddler's argot for "work, craft," or the related German slang verb schinäglen. Another guess centers on Irish sionnach "fox."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for shenanigans



A difficult and confused situation; an uproar; melee; mess, rhubarb: It became clear that the whole shlamozzle, introns and exons, are transcribed into RNA (1899+)


To depart; powder, scram (1903+)

[ultimately probably fr Yiddish shlim mazel, ''rotten luck,'' hence ''a difficulty or misfortune,'' and related to shlemazel]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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