Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Slang A situation, organization, contrivance, or set of facts or things: organized and ran the whole shebang.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any matter of present concern; thing; or business.
  • n. A lean-to or temporary shelter.
  • n. The character string "#!" used at the beginning of a computer file to indicate which interpreter can process the commands in the file, chiefly used in Unix and related operating systems.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A jocosely depreciative name for a dwelling or shop; a primitive dwelling; a shanty.
  • n. The structure of an object, process, organization, or anything viewed as complicated; -- used primarily in the phrase the whole shebang.
  • n. The character sequence #!, which frequently begins shell scripts in a Unix system.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A shanty; place; “concern”: as, who lives in this shebang ? he threatened to clean out the whole shebang.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an entire system; used in the phrase `the whole shebang'

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Unknown. 1862 as “temporary shelter”, modern sense as “matter of concern” from 1869, also “vehicle” from 1872.[2] (Wiktionary)
hash +‎ bang or sharp +‎ bang, after Etymology 1. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Overseeing the whole shebang is Big Chief Random Chaos, possibly not the most suitable candidate for a position requiring organisational skills, but the in-house hosts will be on hand to mop up any spillages.

    Clubs picks of the week

  • Again, in my world, a higher chance of winning the whole shebang is what equals “better”.

    Matthew Yglesias » Mind the Gap

  • Instead of working all flowers and candy, however, the whole shebang is lost with over 4000 pointless US dead and hundreds of thousands pointlessly dead Iraqis and Afghanis.

    Unstoppable, Incredible, Impeccable, It’s It’s It’s The Unit | ATTACKERMAN

  • The whole shebang is directed by Tim Russ (Tuvok from Voyager), who also recreates his role in the film as well.

    News: Star Trek: Of Gods And Men Postponed | Fan Cinema Today

  • But, on the subject of Kate Thornton, does anyone else get the feeling that this whole 'Kate Sacked From X Factor' shebang is just a lazy publicity-grabber, the same as all the judge-fights were on the last couple of X Factor seasons?

    X Factor Betting Odds: Eton Road, Leona & Ben

  • And the whole shebang is controlled by a special secret control room housed in a giant statue!

    Boing Boing: November 26, 2006 - December 2, 2006 Archives

  • So I won't dismiss Palahniuk's new book -- a "novel" consisting of 23 "short stories" linked by "poems," a thin "narrative," and the conceit that this whole shebang is the work of the flesh - and fame-starved prisoners at a ghoulish writers 'colony -- as mere crap.

    May 2005

  • I've come to accept that the delegates are props, the platforms are propaganda and the whole shebang is essentially a political infomercial that just goes on and on and on.

    Oh, get a room!

  • Then the whole shebang is topped with homemade candied pecans.

    Thanksgiving Dinner 2004

  • Yet there were people who called the tavern a "shebang" -- slander as it was against Suzon

    The Right of Way — Complete

Comments

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  • During the American Civil War, a shebang,perhaps,meant (2 halves of) an army pup tent. The meaning of hut or shed has been attributed (in some circles) as coming from the prisoners of Camp Ford,Texas refering to the makeshift hovels they lived in.

    From EtymologyOnline: 1862, "hut, shed, shelter," perhaps an alteration of shebeen (q.v.). Phrase the whole shebang first recorded 1869, but relation to the earlier use of the word is obscure. Either or both senses may also be mangled pronunciations of Fr. char-à-banc, a bus-like wagon with many seats.

    September 23, 2010

  • "And here's the kicker of this whole shebang." --Information Travels Faster, Death Cab for Cutie

    March 20, 2008

  • Does "shebang" cause scatterbrain?

    January 4, 2007