Is the word “Gig” derogatory? Bride thinks it’s appalling!

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New Member
Well, I posted this last night but before I had a chance to see if anyone replied this morning, it was gone as a result of the chat board problems.

Anyway, to recap my post from last night, I was talking to a potential bride yesterday who was shocked and appalled that I called an upcoming wedding a “gig”. She told me this was the single most important day of her life and didn’t appreciate that I would call it a “gig” instead of an “event” or “performance” or “booking”. Before I even had a chance to back pedal she said it was inexcusable and didn’t think I would be a good fit for her special day. Wow! “Gig” lost on account of this one little word!

I’ve never even thought about it before yesterday. So I asked a few people (non-DJs) at random what the first thing that came to their mind was when I told them the word “gig”. I received similar responses from each of them to the effect of “Isn’t that when a local band plays a smoky bar?”

Last year I was getting my hair cut and the barber asked me “What are your plans for the weekend?” and I told her “I have a gig tonight”. Her response was, “Oh, are you in a band?” “No”, I said, “I am a wedding DJ”. I never even gave it a second thought at the time!

I notice that a lot of DJs use the word “gig” on their websites and I wonder how many “events” I am losing (or have already lost) as a result of this simple little word, especially to the more high-end brides? It really seems like it is just industry lingo that is only accepted among us DJs, but to the rest of the world it is condescending and derogatory.

After what happened yesterday, I don’t think I’ll ever be using that word again in any of my marketing materials.

If you already posted a response, I am sorry but I never got a chance to read it so if you can re-post I would appreciate reading your thoughts! Am I alone on this one?


DeeJay Scottie

New Member
Id most likely stay away from using the "Gig" word when I am talking to a client. Its not a bad word.. more like Shop Talk.

On the other hand, if you using that word made her not want to book you... I can just imagine what her reception would be like... what would happen if she didn’t like your tie.. or the color of your speakers.....
geeeezzz... wound a bit tight was she?


Bose L1 Double B1 DJ
I have people, family members and others asking me,"Do you have a gig tonight?" I say I have a show. I have never called it a gig. I just didn't like the word. I also associate the word "gig" to bands. Hopefully that word has not lost you other shows in the past. Maybe "show" isn't the right word either. You never know. :?:


Always At Your Service

Gig is an interesting word with a variety of etymologically unrelated senses.

The oldest term is that of a top or other whirling object. It dates to c. 1440. The origin is unknown. The term of top is the source of some other terms, such as a giddy or flighty person, fun, merriment, and a whim.

The term of a light, two-wheeled carriage dates to 1791 and is a transference from the earlier term. The motion of the carriage and its tendency to upset are not unlike that of a top. Also related is the term of gig meaning a ship's boat. This nautical term dates to 1790.

Gig can also mean a spear or harpoon, and it is a verb meaning to spear or stab, as in Gig'em Aggies. This term originally comes from the Spanish word for harpoon, fisga. The Spanish word appears in English in 1565 as fisgig. An alternate spelling is fizgig and the word is also folk-etymologized as fishgig, a harpoon for stabbing fish. The clipped form gig appears in 1722.

This brings us to the most common use, that of a musician's engagement or job. The musical term dates to 1926 and first arose as jazz slang in the US. But the origin is not in music. The use of gig to mean a non-musical job or occupation dates to 1908, and the term or use as a business affair or event is a year older than that. The origin is unknown, but it may come from the slang term gag. This dates to 1890 and means business method, practice, or behavior.

All these terms are American slang usages.

The last term meaning may be from, or be influenced by, an obsolete meaning of gig. This term is a type of bet in a numbers game. It dates to 1847 and is an arbitrary use of the term gig as a bet on a carriage or horse.


Always At Your Service
Matthew: Effective use of "Google-101". Thanks nonetheless.

I call "it" work and the event itself a "show". Sometimes, in talking with another jock, we call it a "gig" in casual conversation. In past tense, I often hear the term "job" from clients used most. You did a "good job" or "job well done" or even "great show". Never heard a one of them ever say or compliment with "swell event" or "super gig".

Gig. New meaning. Git In Gear? (Now that's bad!. Bad, not bad in a bad way as is good bad but just bad, plain bad.)

How about you, Matt, got a creative acronym for gig?

Johnny Dee

Website Design & Success Moderator
Staff member
I started out as a musician and "Gig" was used to refer to any job we had, whether it was club or private party.

When I am talking with other musicians and DJ's I will still use the word "Gig". I don't usually use it with clients.

I don't think it hurts us to refer to it with customers. The perfect example is "Gigmasters" I get some of my best leads from them

Alan R Hilbert

Beach Music Jock

I also posted a reply last night. I also recall your original post saying that you invited a potential client to your wedding gig.

My reply was that I never used the term gig anywhere, but I also would never, ever, NEVER invite a client to another's private party.

Best Regards,


New Member
When talking to a client, I always refer to it as their event, wedding, reception, etc. Whatever it might be. To another DJ, perhaps I might say I have a 'gig."

Randy Bartlett

Senior Member
This client was worth her weight in gold!!!! Wouldn't it be great if clients really told you what was on their mind?

Most clients leave without ever letting you know the truth. This one took the time to teach you a valuable lesson on the way out the door. If I were you, I'd send her a nice bouquet or gift certificate for dinner, with a thousand thanks, because she just made you a ton of money.

OF COURSE it's offensive to call her wedding a gig. But it's much more than the choice of the word "gig." It's the attitude that goes with gig. The word "gig" is something she could put her finger on, but I'd bet big money that it was WAY more than that. She almost surely sensend that you were not giving the same sort of importance to her wedding as she was.

It's an easy trap to fall into. Been there, done that...

What else are we saying to our clients that turn them off? I'm always blown away when I hear some of the things DJs say, either to other DJs, or on the microphone at a wedding, or in sales consultations. We turn people off, then when they don't book us, we blame THEM! (Cheapskates just looking for a deal. BS!!!!!)

This client may be the most valuable one you've ever had. Call her up and thank her, and tell her that she's opened your eyes. Tell her that you are not looking to change her mind, but since she was kind enough to give you that incredible advice, you're looking for more. Ask her what else she felt during your talk, and tell her to be very blunt. Promise her that she will be doing you, and future brides, an act of kindness, and then LISTEN!

I'd kill for a client to do this for me once in a while. Tough on the ego, but great on the pocketbook.

DJ Jake

New Member
As always, Randy has the perfect take on this. Now you know something really important NOT to do. Even if you have to act to make it happen, you should always make ALL your clients feel like they are your ONLY client. That is the trick that will give you great rewards.


Derby City DJ
aside from dj'ing i am also a musician - and i think just out of general reference i associate the word "gig" to my band.

i refer to dj'ing as "bookings" but when speaking with a client i refer specifically to "events"


Active Member
When speaking to the public, I refer to any show as an event. When dealing with others in the industry I say gig.


New Member
Gigs aren't strictly for musicians . . .

I've heard comedians refer to their shows as 'gigs' . . .

And actors refer to a stage show or filming as a 'gig'!

I call gigs 'gigs' to other fellow DJ's or friends, but never to a wedding client!

Now, to bar owners, I refer to a show as a 'gig'!

All Night Music

New Member
I use the word "performance" more than any other. "Wedding Reception" is a close second. I always refer to the events I'm performing at to include the type of event. For example, wedding reception, anniversary, corporate gathering, picnic, rehearsal, birthday, etc. You get the drift.

The word "Gig" is used very sparingly and is only used in the presence of peers who would understand and not take offense.


New Member
IMHO, I think you have encountered another "Educated" bride. Which is a good thing. Someone, possiblely another DJ, has found their Unique selling point. They have exploited the word gig. which I use all the time except to a client. "shop talk" as I read earlier.


New Member
It happened again! This time, I did get burned. The bride noticed somewhere on my website the word "gig". I must have it somewhere that I don't know about... I am looking into it because I was sure to pull it last time this came up. But she said she was offended by the term gig and that her wedding day was the most important day of her life and it was sad that we djs refer to them as gigs. Needless to say, she did not book with me, maybe for other reasons too. But it just makes me think, should we as djs try to abandon and ban the word "gig" all around? Even using it with other djs can still run the risk of back firing. Maybe the guys at DJA radio can address this on their show, but if we are trying to improve our industry as a whole and change the way brides and the public perceive us maybe we should all make a commitment to step up, be professional, and ban "gig" and replace it with something more friendly like "event" or "reception". What does everyone else think?

DJ Ron Auger

Account Closed
I think the word gig has it's place. If I'm planning a junior high dance and I'm talking to a bunch of 13 year olds, the word gig they understand. I think it sounds cool to them, almost like their getting a band.

When I was in a rock band in HS it was gigs we played. As a mobile entertainer I now perform wedding functions and receptions. I help to create memorable moments on their special day.

If I'm talking to a potential bride then the words, reception, memorable event, function etc are more fitting. Brides are looking for an elegant almost fairly tale event. Use proper descriptive adjectives and you won't believe the difference.

Go to some of the upscale function facilities websites and read how they describe themselves. This is what the brides are reading. These are the terms they are use to hearing.

Remember your Emily Post. :lol:

This is only my opinion, I could be wrong!
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