Green’s Dictionary of Slang

shebang n.

[SE shebang, a hut, a dwelling, one’s quarters]

1. a vehicle.

[US]‘Mark Twain’ Innocents at Home 326: I want this shebang [i.e. an omnibus] all day.
[UK]A. Binstead Houndsditch Day by Day 198: In a four-wheeled fever-box you must take your beaver on your knees or get it hopelessly ruffled against the roof of the old shebang.
Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Mar. in N.Y. Criterion Red Page/2: He clambered over the seats to the front platform. ‘Here, let me run this old shebang,’ said he. ‘I won’t kill nobody.’.

2. (orig. US ) a saloon, a bar.

[US]Wkly Varieties (Boston, MA) 3 Sept. 6/2: Brown, keeper of a shebang, No. — Union street, is deserving of five years [...] for allowing such a drunken set of thieving molls to frequent his ken.
Annual Report US Dept. Interior 567: Along all the roads on the reservation to all the mines, at the crossing of every stream or fresh-water spring, and near the principal Indian villages, an inn or "shebang" is established, ostensibly for the entertainment of travellers, but almost universally used as a den for supplying liquor to Indians.
[US]G.G. Hart E.C.B. Susan Jane 19: Old Jimmy ye know, / That keeps the ‘Shebang’ on the corner below.
[US]A.H. Lewis Wolfville 249: My last requests, the same bein’ addressed to the barkeep, personal, is to set every bottle of bug-juice in the shebang on the bar.
[NZ]‘Anzac’ On the Anzac Trail 77: Shebangs where they sell you whisky that takes the lining of your throat down with it, and lifts your stomach up to the roof of your skull.
[UK]S. Hugill Shanties from the Seven Seas 595: Shebang. Irish name for a shack where illicit whisky (potheen) was distilled; any sort of low ‘dive’.

3. (US) a house, a home, a dwelling place, a shop.

[US]Eye of the Storm 26/27 Nov. 147: The Sanitary Commission camp at a half demolished house known as ‘The Shebang’.
[US]C.C. Nott Sketches in Prison Camps 149: A Captain in my regiment came up, and after the usual greetings invited me into his ‘shebang’.
[US]J.F. Rusling Great West and Pacific Coast 72: His slang – half Mexican, half miner-is everywhere the language of the masses. A ‘square’ meal is his usual phrase for a full or first-rate one. A ‘shebang’ means any structure, from a hotel to a shanty.
[US]Interior Jrnl (Stanford, KY) 30 Dec. 4/1: The three of us sat in a shebang in the prison stockade [...] shebang was the prison word for a dwelling constructed in this way.
[US]H.F. Wood ‘Justice in a Quandary’ in Good Humor 178: Patsy sets this bloke in his shebang a sending along the old stuff.
C.G. Leland ‘Mr. Scroper, Architect’ in Songs of the Sea 189: For last night we had a tempest,-while the mighty thunder rang, / Up there came a real guster, which blew down the whole shebang. / (Shebang’s a word from Hebrew, meanin’ Seven, sayeth Krupp, / And applied to any shanty where they play at seven-up.).
[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Bad Boy Abroad 20: Why don’t you clean out this shebang; and put in a new stock of goods.
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 515: An’ if you charge me board, I’ll charge you interest for the money I’ve stuck into this shebang.
[US]M. Bodenheim Georgie May 194: Ah couldn’t nevah go back [...] that rube shebang would drive me loony.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Capricorn (1964) 257: I insisted that it be there in the midmost midst of the shebang.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Death’s Passport’ in Goodstone Pulps (1970) 117/2: Dave slammed to a halt in front of Lanya Kensington’s modest shebang.
[US]J. Thompson Texas by the Tail (1994) 177: She’s got people running the shebang [i.e. a business] for her.

4. (US) a thing, an object.

[US]‘Mark Twain’ Innocents at Home 334: We’ve got a shebang [i.e. a lectern] fixed up for you to stand behind.
[US]L.W. Payne Jr ‘Word-List From East Alabama’ in DN III:v 368: shebang, n. A contrivance, a thing of any kind.
[US]R. Starnes And When She Was Bad 79: They took that old engine block there and trussed his body to it with wire rope. Then they hauled the whole shebang out here and dumped it.

5. an event.

[US]S.E. White Blazed Trail 126: I took her to a dance one night, / A mossback gave the bidding– / Silver Jack bossed the shebang, / And Big Dan played the fiddle.
[US]K. Nicholson Barker I ii: I won’t have it – not while I’m running this shebang!
[US]R.E. Howard ‘Mountain Man’ Action Stories Mar.–Apr. 🌐 You boys ride into town and tell the folks that the shebangs starts soon.
[US]W.D. Overholser Buckaroo’s Code (1948) 54: We ain’t running this shebang.
[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 395: I don’t like the smell of this whole shebang.
[US]E. De Roo Big Rumble 89: He saw the entire she-bang as one big dance with everyone invited and getting along fine together.
[UK]Guardian Guide 19–25 June 31: The whole shebang is being broadcast live.
[UK]J. Hawes Dead Long Enough 97: No one wants to blow the whistle on the whole shebang and shaggery.

6. (US Und.) a criminal rendezvous.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 190/2: Shebang. 1. A saloon, poolroom, or brothel, as a rendezvous of thieves.

7. (UK/US Und.) a prison cell.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 190/2: Shebang. [...] 2. (Contemptuous) A jail, reformatory, or prison; (rare) a cell.

8. see shebeen n.