Where Does The Word Gig Come From?

24 April 2018, 15:43 | Updated: 24 April 2018, 15:45

Stereophonics Gig
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Mystery Hour Question

Where does the word gig come from? Why can it be used both for a concert and a job, as in the "gig economy"?

Des, Colindale

Name: James O’Brien

Qualification: Mystery Hour’s In House Dictionary



Derived from the word “engagement”, gig comes from the 1920s jazz scene.

Jazz musicians had their own slang and referred to concerts as gigs.

Although there is some debate whether the word could come from a small horse carriage, also called a gig, the prevailing wisdom puts it down to the jazz musicians.