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Whole shebang

Posted by Henry on April 27, 2004

In Reply to: Shebang posted by ESC on April 27, 2004

: : I heard that a "shebang" was what union soldiers called their tents or hovels they built for themselves in the Andersonville POW camp during the civil war.

: Merriam-Webster says origin unknown. I'll look in a Civil War dictionary and see if it's listed.

It may be related to the Irish word shebeen.
shebang \She*bang"\, n. [Cf. Shebeen.] A jocosely depreciative name for a dwelling or shop. [Slang,U.S.] Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Webster's 1913 Dictionary Definition: SHEBEEN: \She*been"\, n. [Of Irish origin; cf. Ir. seapa a shop.] A low public house; especially, a place where spirits and other excisable liquors are illegally and privately sold. [Ireland]
It's not clear if this word has the same derivation; shebang n : an entire system; used in the phrase "the whole shebang" Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University