Part of speech: noun
Origin: French, mid 17th century
(historical) A noisy mock serenade performed by a group of people to celebrate a marriage or mock an unpopular person.
A series of discordant noises.
Examples of Charivari in a sentence
"The groomsmen broke out into a spontaneous charivari as the reception was ending."
"The orchestra's warmup was a loud charivari."
Popularity Over Time
While we know that the current form of charivari developed in French, the word's origins are unknown. Some lexicographers speculate that it came from the Greek word "karēbaría" (headache), working on the idea that a mock serenade would leave onlookers' heads throbbing.
Did you Know?
Charivari (the mock serenade) has an interesting history. While neighbors parading through the streets banging pots and pans and making a racket might be to celebrate a happy occasion like a wedding, a mock serenade might also be directed towards an unpopular person. The name of this procession varies depending on area, and is sometimes spelled "shivaree" or "chivaree."