Sunday, October 10, 2010

Word For The Day: shivaree

shivaree - shivv-ah-ree - verb or noun.  1) noun: a late night surprise mock serenade with kettles, pans, horns, and other noisemakers given for a newly married couple by neighbours and friends, as in "Let's plan a shivaree for Bob and Beulah for midnight on Saturday night."  2) verb: to serenade via a shivaree.  "Let's shivaree Bob and Beulah on Saturday night!"  Etymology: an Americanism probably from the Mississippi Valley, although originally from the French charivari ("Skimilton" is a similar term used in the Hudson Valley.)  Shivaree appears in Rodgers and Hammerstein's stage musical "Oklahoma!", and was also the title and main theme of an episode of "The Waltons" (Season 3, Episode 19) wherein the bride and groom in the episode are jovially 'harassed' on their wedding night and the groom is 'kidnapped' until a token ransom is paid. The (probably correct) explanation given is that it was a country tradition brought over to the colonies by the first settlers.