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jig / jig/ • n. 1. a lively dance with leaping movements. ∎  a piece of music for such a dance, typically in compound time. 2. a device that holds a piece of work and guides the tools operating on it. 3. Fishing a type of artificial bait that is jerked up and down through the water. • v. (jigged , jig·ging ) 1. [intr.] dance a jig. ∎  move up and down with a quick jerky motion: we were jigging about in our seats. 2. [tr.] equip (a factory or workshop) with a jig or jigs. 3. [intr.] fish with a jig: a man jigged for squid. PHRASES: in jig time inf. extremely quickly; in a very short time.the jig is up inf. the scheme or deception is revealed or foiled.

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1. A dance once popular in Eng., Scot., and Ireland, in the last of which its popularity was of longest duration. For its general character and music see gigue.

2. In the late 16th and 17th cents., the term was applied to a lively song and dance item, of comic character, used to terminate theatrical perfs.

3. Title of last movement of an 18th-cent. orch. suite. See gigue.

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jig lively springy dance, music for this; †lively ballad, light dramatic performance; (dial., sl.) joke, sport. XVI. of unkn. orig. The mod. (XIX) applications to various mechanical devices are from jig vb. in the sense ‘move rapidly or jerkiy up and down or to and fro’ (XVII), which most prob. derives from the sb.