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

  • n. Midwestern & Western U.S. A noisy mock serenade for newlyweds. Also called regionally charivari, belling, horning, serenade.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The noisy banging of pots and pans as a mock serenade to a newly married couple, or similar occasion.
  • n. Any loud cacophonous noise or hubbub.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To salute with a mock serenade.
  • n. A corruption of charivari.

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

  • n. a noisy mock serenade (made by banging pans and kettles) to a newly married couple


Alteration of charivari.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French charivari (Wiktionary)



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  • "Another time, he might have been interested to see a shivaree, and trace all the roots of it from French and Highland customs—but not bloody now."
    —Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (NY: Bantam Dell, 2001), 701

    January 26, 2010

  • A "noisy mock serenade for newlyweds," probably deriving in turn from a Late Latin word meaning "headache."

    Also called regionally charivari, belling, horning, serenade.

    From the French "charivari," most likely borrowed from French traders and settlers along the Mississippi River

    An 1805 account describes a shivaree in New Orleans:

    "The house is mobbed by thousands of the people of the town, vociferating and shouting with loud acclaim.... Many are in disguises and masks; and all have some kind of discordant and noisy music, such as old kettles, and shovels, and tongs.... All civil authority and rule seems laid aside" (John F. Watson).

    The word shivaree is especially common along and west of the Mississippi River.

    Regional equivalents:

    ~belling: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan

    ~horning: upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania, western New England

    January 17, 2009

  • Do shivarees give you the goosebumps?

    September 23, 2008