Jig - Encyclopedia

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JIG, a brisk lively dance, the quick and irregular steps of which have varied at different times and in the various countries in which it has been danced (see Dance). The music of the "jig," or such as is written in its rhythm, is in various times and has been used frequently to finish a suite, e.g. by Bach and Handel. The word has usually been derived from or connected with Fr. gigue, Ital. giga, Ger. Geige, a fiddle. The French and Italian words are now chiefly used of the dance or dance rhythm, and in this sense have been taken by etymologists as adapted from the English "jig," which may have been originally an onomatopoeic word. The idea of jumping, jerking movement has given rise to many applications of "jig" and its derivative "jigger" to mechanical and other devices, such as the machine used for separating the heavier metal-bearing portions from the lighter parts in ore-dressing, or a tackle consisting of a double and single block and fall, &c. The word "jigger," a corruption of the West Indian chigoe, is also used as the name of a species of flea, the Sarcopsylla penetrans, which burrows and lays its eggs in the human foot, generally under the toe nails, and causes great swelling and irritation (see Flea).

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