Definition of jig in English:



  • 1A lively dance with leaping movements.

    • ‘The actors not only walked the ramp but also broke into a spontaneous jig to the catchy tunes of Rang De Basanti.’
    • ‘Madison dances with Jack, and they happily laugh and chat during the lively jig.’
    • ‘Lightly, he danced a little jig to the music while he brought the needle along his arm.’
    • ‘Stars performed a jig before my eyes and I felt the world sway beneath my feet.’
    • ‘Sam stopped her impromptu jig and sat down on a barstool across from her mother.’
    • ‘I continued to hop and dance about, performing an Irish jig Brooke had taught me.’
    • ‘Unable to contain their joy, boys of Punjab broke into a song prompting their friends to do a jig.’
    • ‘She has always loved Irish music and was still able to do the Irish jigs.’
    • ‘He hopped out the side door and did a short piece of a jig.’
    • ‘I asked, relieved, performing another tiny jig, and realizing the window blind was open.’
    • ‘They sang, danced little jigs, played puppets with the fish, anything to get Jude to smile.’
    • ‘Several members also gave a song or two and took to the floor for some jigs.’
    • ‘Here, folk enthusiasts can dust off their fiddles and play along to the notes of an on-screen jig or waltz, accompanied by a virtual backing band.’
    • ‘It has a chicken inside and you drop a peso and music starts playing and the chicken does a funny little jig and then it's over.’
    • ‘Youngsters chose the occasion to present their abilities at a jig to the tunes of popular film numbers and they did it with elan.’
    • ‘You don't need a partner, you don't even need music, do a happy jig to the beat of your own drum.’
    • ‘He could barely contain his glee and seemed about to break into a jig at any moment.’
    • ‘They twitched, swayed and finally did a lively little jig - but there was no bird in sight.’
    • ‘No wonder her boss danced a little jig and then rang to thank Larry.’
    1. 1.1A piece of music for a jig, typically in compound time.
      • ‘And in his jig was everything that every style of music could offer.’
      • ‘There were jigs and reels, then songs that everyone knew and sang along with.’
      • ‘Songs have been sung in its honour, jigs written, and screeds of poetry composed.’
      • ‘Ged's inventive guitar licks provide ideal underpinning for Andy's intricate songs and the group's blistering sets of reels and jigs.’
      • ‘Friday night's fun events, in and around a packed village hall, propelled proceedings into an orbit of fibs and fables fortified with folk tunes and jigs.’
      • ‘For example, the first tune, O'Mahony's jig, was on that long-ago album loaned him by Con Herbert.’
      • ‘But it wasn't all fiddles and jigs for MacInnes when he was growing up.’
      • ‘Later in Europe bones provided the rhythm to jigs and reels normally played on violin.’
      • ‘The off-key singing of the congregations at Church and the reels and jigs of the Connecticut fiddle players enchanted him.’
      • ‘If you thought Celtic music was fiddles, jigs and reels, this extraordinary album will be a platform for your transfiguration.’
      • ‘Both were fanatical about folk music and Kate imbibed their records of folk, sea shanties and Irish jigs.’
      • ‘As an original finale, they combined an Irish jig with ska which was infectiously received.’
      • ‘He's on a mission: to revamp the traditional jig and make it something people can relate to today.’
      • ‘Brase took his job to mean rearranging many traditional Irish jigs and reels to sound like thundering Prussian martial pieces.’
      • ‘Before the 1890s, the United States had no music this catchy: all the popular tunes Abraham Lincoln knew consisted of marches, jigs, and waltzes.’
      • ‘We'll do Nessun Dorma too, we can handle that with no bother, and David will do a few jigs and reels to break up the singing.’
      • ‘Ireland has a rich folk music tradition, and ancient jigs and reels can be heard at local festivals and during informal performances at neighborhood pubs.’
      • ‘Her new album contains a colossal 18 tracks, some of them traditional songs, some instrumental traditional airs, reels, jigs and waltzes.’
      • ‘On a late summer's evening after a hard day's work his music could be heard all over the village as he played all of his tunes, jigs and reels.’
      • ‘Pipe tunes, mouth music, jigs and reels nestle alongside songs and ballads, most originating from Fowlis' native South Uist.’
  • 2A device that holds a piece of work and guides the tools operating on it.

    • ‘Welding costs, for instance, were cut in half by adopting ‘flexible’ welding jigs and general-use pallets.’
    • ‘Former employee Matthew Hall, of Idle, worked at Jowetts from 1937 to 1944, as a jig and tool designer.’
    • ‘These sutures were then attached to a load cell mounted on a tensioning jig.’
    • ‘But using the boot as a jig is really what gives you the read.’
    • ‘We have bent a number of bows using a steam box and a jig with a block and tackle and pulleys to bend them around a form.’
    • ‘Individual pieces will be hand placed on the jigs for automated welding.’
    • ‘However, in 2005 the plan calls for production of entirely new-build Vipers for which the company will have to build jigs and tools.’
    • ‘Insert one or more boards into a jig that guides your saw.’
    • ‘The French Hawks would be built with airframe jigs and tools purchased by the French.’
    • ‘All specimens were prepared for mechanical testing by being potted in a custom jig and fixed in a vise.’
    • ‘Drill dowel holes according to the plans, using a dowel jig or a horizontal boring machine.’
    • ‘The array of bits, jigs, edge guides, and other accessories is as varied and versatile as the basic router itself.’
    • ‘Make sure the dowel holes are aligned by using a dowel jig or a horizontal boring tool (if available).’
    • ‘To dowel the top prepare to drill the dowel holes using a horizontal boring tool or a doweling jig and centers.’
    • ‘Welding jigs should be eliminated where possible to eliminate slow and expensive tooling changes.’
    • ‘No longer do you need an array of tools such as a drill, a mortising jig for hinges, strikes, and bolt plate.’
    • ‘The Miltech shop is a jumble of jigs, tools and fixtures, each dedicated to a specific task, such as an original M1 barrel vise.’
    • ‘These special tools, called jigs and fixtures, make jobs easier and allow the gunsmith to turn out quality work, fast and efficiently.’
    • ‘The equipment, worth around R30000, includes two table saws, two belt sanders, a jig saw and a lathe.’
    • ‘In the past, heavy, complicated jigs clamped panels and essentially surrounded the vehicle frame as it was welded together.’
  • 3Fishing
    A type of artificial bait that is jerked up and down through the water.

    • ‘The top end of a jig is shaped like a pinkie finger and decorated like a small, flashy fish.’
    • ‘The change of pace from topwaters and jigs dredged up memories and fish, good on both counts.’
    • ‘The Swedes themselves are very keen on using jigs for their pike fishing.’
    • ‘Topwaters and soft-plastic jigs catch fish through winter, but for genuine, heart-stopping trout, odds favor suspending lures.’
    • ‘But when the current rolls and the fish are hungry, they'll slam jigs and sometimes detonate on topwater plugs.’
    lure, decoy, fly, troll, jig, plug, teaser
    View synonyms


  • 1[no object] Dance a jig.

    • ‘Mozart shook his head with impatience and started to jig and dance about in the road.’
    • ‘They swapped their heads around and played and partied and danced and jigged and forgot who they were.’
    • ‘While Karen still jigged to free the snow from her clothes, Bucky ran circles around the group, barking loudly with his high pitched yip.’
    • ‘Catching her in his arms, he swept her into a bear hug and jigged around a little, humming ‘Here Comes the Bride’ as he did so.’
    • ‘His mother, a sandwich maker, has told how he would be forever jigging and dancing around the house as a child.’
    • ‘I rested my hand on his shoulder lightly, and we danced - or jigged - to the music.’
    • ‘He jigs past his first two tacklers, sprints down the line and then hands off Menchaca to touch down.’
    • ‘Horan, who jigged in Wimbledon earlier this month, plans to dance another jig outside the Vatican Embassy in the coming weeks.’
    • ‘In the dance contest, the kids jigged to some popular tunes.’
    • ‘Over 1,000 people bopped, jigged, jived and pogoed to some excellent bands.’
    • ‘Morris men, belly dancers and musicians jigged and played for an estimated 30,000 people.’
    • ‘The Nigerian danced and jigged and very nearly scored.’
    • ‘Fugard the director tries to compensate for Fugard the writer by goosing his cast into jigging (the usual sense) and bopping.’
    • ‘Damien followed suit and jigged around her in a circle, his eyes locked with hers.’
    • ‘But what struck me was that the fiddle player was being accompanied by a bass player in another region of Canada, and students were jigging.’
    • ‘‘Because you were jigging like a fool, and now you're lying on the ground,’ he said matter-of-factly.’
    • ‘Adie continued to jig about on the grass in a way I was beginning to wish she wouldn't.’
    bob up and down, leap up and down, jump up and down, spring up and down, skip, hop
    prance, caper, bounce
    curvet, rollick, capriole, jounce
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with adverbial]Move up and down with a quick jerky motion.
      ‘we were jigging about in our seats’
      • ‘For redears, jigging (twitching your line) often produces the best results.’
      • ‘Ousel turned the helm to the right, and Misery jigged in dispute, much like a strong-willed colt will prance upon the pressure of a bit.’
      • ‘A long handle beats you to death during the vertical jigging motion for the plastic, or the zigzag for the topwater.’
      • ‘How many times have you seen a horse blow up in the show ring, or jig down the trail, lose his concentration, or refuse to go in the trailer?’
      • ‘If the horse is jigging, take a deep breath, and let it out slowly.’
      • ‘So, what if you get on your horse and he starts jigging, trotting or moving around at an improper pace?’
      • ‘In a related compound-unit vein, Showtime presents a tight clutch of attenuated compartments, jigging vertically like a dancing city skyline in a Tex Avery cartoon.’
      • ‘She pointed at the jolly dancing figure, who jigged halfway up the stairs.’
      • ‘Finch looked up, his heart jigging with relief and surprise.’
      • ‘And he smiled, and turned, and jigged off the bus.’
      • ‘The movement required to tramp the rice and free the chaff is called jigging.’
      • ‘In a way it is a quite lighthearted series - we have animated medieval manuscripts, with characters jigging up and down.’
      bob up and down, leap up and down, jump up and down, spring up and down, skip, hop
      prance, caper, bounce
      curvet, rollick, capriole, jounce
      View synonyms
  • 2[with object] Equip (a factory or workshop) with a jig or jigs.

    • ‘My personal preference time and time again on my jigging system remains to be Trilene XL.’
  • 3[no object] Fish with a jig.

    ‘a man jigged for squid’
    • ‘Since squid is also a good bait fish we believe it is proper to include squid jigging in this booklet.’
    • ‘You want to start reeling and jigging your bait though the different spectrums of the water.’
    • ‘Lescarbot also observed Mikmaq spearing salmon, sturgeon and dolphins and jigging for cod.’
    • ‘I simply jigged the buzzer slowly up and down in the dark but clear peaty water and the fish would follow it occasionally darting at, but not taking the fly.’


  • in jig time

    • informal Extremely quickly; in a very short time.

      • ‘They'll be off the starting blocks in jig time on Sunday and it will be important for Ardmore to contain them in those vital early sequences.’
      • ‘After the parade, the Céilí Mór takes place at Earlsfort Terrace with some of the country's finest traditional acts keeping everybody in jig time.’
      • ‘The trio did the clean-up in jig time and with smiles.’
      • ‘There is no doubt we went mad in terms of exposing ourselves to increased debt as we dramatically caught up with the EU average on that score in jig time.’
      • ‘Veteran Frankie Carroll especially was out of traps in jig time pointing a free inside a minute and landing a real beauty from play two minutes later.’
      very soon, soon, in a second, in a minute, in a moment, in a trice, in a flash, shortly, directly, any second, any minute, any minute now, in a short time, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, in no time, in no time at all, in less than no time, before you know it, before long
      View synonyms
  • the jig is up

    • informal The scheme or deception is revealed or foiled.

      • ‘Tally put her hands in the air mockingly and said, ‘I guess the jig is up.’’
      • ‘If he flouts these rules, then it's time to tell him the jig is up, and he is out.’
      • ‘Well, everyone knows that the jig is up once the partying begins.’
      • ‘The rug's been pulled; the jig is up; there is no way to get out of this one!’
      • ‘Once the major minutes begin to tell on Michael Jordan - and it could happen any minute - the jig is up.’
      • ‘The cops merely have to line up a bunch of cruisers along St-Antoine, a few more on McGill and de la Commune and the jig is up.’
      • ‘It will be good enough, for your purposes, to tell him that the jig is up and you are outta there.’
      • ‘Which means, as Way puts it, ‘When the venues go, the jig is up.’’
      • ‘Dekker looks over his shoulder and sees that the jig is up.’
      • ‘The corrupt powers that be suddenly realize the jig is up and the healing can thus begin.’


Mid 16th century: of unknown origin.