Somebody asked me today where the word shindig comes from, and the answer is quite engrossing. Meaning "a lively party", this term emerged in the 1870s with mysterious origins. It's possible that it comes from the Scottish word shinty, describing a game similar to hockey, which has a commotion similar to parties. Alternatively, it could be from Gaelic sinteag, meaning "to leap", from Irish shindy, meaning "a spree", or even shinny, another word for hockey. All of these possible origins have one thing in common: they are not Germanic. Rather, they derive from Celtic, which is one of the reasons for their collective obscurity- it is a poorly documented and reconstructed language. Interestingly, usage of the word "shin-dig" is higher than ever; you would think, as an old-timey term, it would have been most used in prior years; however, there's been a recent boom in frequency of shindig. Whether a leap, a spree, or hockey, this word is weird.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a sophomore studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, and law.