Caroline: I am SO glad I found this site. I'm trying to find out how/when the word "gig" first started to be used as slang for "a booking for a musician." There are many definitions for "gig" but none of them seem to have any similarity to the slang. I'd appreciate ANY help you can give me! Thanks!
Terry O'Connor: The primary meaning of "gig" in the Random House Dictionary of American Slang is "vagina", starting in 1698. But that probably has little or nothing to do with gig as a musicician's booking. THAT meaning probably came from the 1907 meaning of "business" or "state of affairs', and hence an "undertaking or event". The musical gig was first recorded in 1926: In R.S. Gold's "Jazz Talk" we find: "One popular 'gig' band makes use of a nicely printed booklet" and in 1927 in an English publication we find: "This seven-piece combination does many 'gigs' in London..."
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