The many meanings of “gig” Posted by on Dec 12, 2013 in English Language, Uncategorized

Have you seen or heard the word gig used before? Click here to listen to how it pronounced.

I use this word relatively frequently to talk about work, but there are a number of meanings for this word, not just about work, and I thought it would be interesting to look at all of those today.

The most common way I use, and hear this word gig used, is to describe a short-term job. The word gig is most often used by entertainers (i.e. musicians and actors) to describe their work, as they often take jobs that only last a short time. Here is how to use the word gig with this definition.

Sorry I can’t help you move this weekend, I have a gig I have to be at.
“How do you like your new job?” “It’s a good gig.”

The word gig has a few other meanings as well, which you can see below.

a) a pronged spear for catching fish

 b) a type of horse drawn carriage that has 2 wheels

c) a slim, light-weigh boat that is used in rowing

Here is how to use gig with these definitions.

A) The fisherman grabbed his gig and threw it into the water to spear the fish.
B) We went for a ride in the country in an old fashion gig drawn by horses.
C) The rowing team went out to practice in their new gig.

Also, you can find ‘gig’ in a few other English words that have completely different meanings, for example:

whirligig – This is an object that spins or whirls around and looks like this:

gigabyte – This is a unit of computer memory that is equal to one billion bytes.

Although ‘gig’ is not a common everyday word in English, it is one that comes up every once in a while, especially when talking about jobs. Hopefully you’ll get the chance to use this word sometime soon, or maybe you’ll now recognize it the next time you hear it.

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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.