• an extravagant event or celebration
  • a gathering of people


Have you ever been to an over-the-top celebration that made you feel like a star? You know, those fancy parties with tux-clad men carrying platters of stuffed mushrooms and calamari? Maybe it was a family party that your uncle splurged on for your grandmother's eightieth birthday. Or perhaps it was your cousins wedding in Hawaii, featuring his fabulously wealthy wife and her dashing family. No matter the occasion, these classic events are often called shindigs, are large gatherings of people. Whether it be for a birthday, a holiday, or no good reason but to dance the night away, they sure do make an impression.

Much like its lively pronunciation, a shindig is a riveting event that absolutely no one would want to miss out on. Imagine boisterous dance music, bright decorations, an abundance of food and drinks, and a large crowd of happy people to enjoy it all—a typical shindig. Usually, shindig is used to describe an extravagant event, one that is defined by its classy guests decked in fancy attire, like ballroom gowns and dress pants. The lavishing setting makes for an unforgettable affair; for years, the occasion glimmers in the longing memory of its attendees.

Shindigs are not exclusively ostentatious. Sometimes, they are simple, small get-togethers. Remember those Friday night pizza parties with music, dancing, and some close friends in middle school? Or movie nights with your cousins when you were a kid? Though not quite as riveting, these shindigs still count!

Example: Stacy sent invitations to her entire extended family for a Christmas shindig at her place.

Example: "Did you hear about Kelsey's shindig on Saturday? She hired catering and a live band..." Sarah said.

Example: Last night, Michelle baked a batch of cookies for her shindig with a few friends.


"Shindy," meaning "a spree, merrymaking," dates back to the 1820s, before "shindig" was first used. Later, many referred to parties and celebrations as "shindig," a possible offshoot of "shindy."

Also, in the 1850s, "shin," pertaining to the part of the leg, and "dig," the movement, were combined to reference a popular dance called the "shinscraper." Shindigs are now known for having elaborate dancing, so "shinscrapers" may have initiated the usage of "shindigs."

Derivative Words

Shindy: (noun) boisterous commotion. (Plural: Shindies)

Example: The construction on campus caused a shindy, and we could barely hear our professor speak.

In Literature

Wiley Blackwell's The Wiley Blackwell Anthology of African American Literature, Volume 2: 1920 to the Present:

"Oh, a customer gimme a pair o' pumps to wear to the shindig tonight, and I got to whittle off here and there till I can get 'emon."

Blackwell expresses shindig as an elegant parry, one where you would feel compelled to dress fancy and wear "pumps" that don't even fit; but you cannot show up underdressed to such a celebration!

Will N. Harben's The Cottage of Delight

In my day and time about the last thing I'd want to do would be to take a sister of mine to a shindig.

In this instance, Harben refers to shindig as a celebration; the narrator is stressing that he would not want to show up with his sister as his companion to a party.


  • I dig my shin into the ground, bop around, at the shindig
  • The party was big—a shindig


Party, Celebration, Event, Extravagant, Festival

Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of shindig. Did you use shindig in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.