MooT Question Icon
Which digital storage unit is a unit of musician employment?

Etymology, Etymology, and more Etymology
as well as grammar, usage, euphemism, slang, jargon, semantics, linguistics, neologism, idiom, cant, and argot.

A picture of a moot game

The critically-acclaimed board game MooT
consists of tough questions about the nuances of the English language.
To join our mailing list and get
free brain-twisting MooT questions sent to you irregularly,
enter your email address and then press submit.

E-Mail address:

Back to home page

Answer: the gig

The musician's term gig - which denotes a job - first appeared in English in the early 20th century; its origin is unknown.

The computer term gig - which denotes 1,000,000,000 bytes (to be precise: 1,073,741,824 bytes) - was coined by contracting the word gigabyte. The latter first appeared in English in the late 20th century, and derives from the Greek gigas, giant, which in Greek Mythology denoted the savage and gigantic sons of Gaia and Uranus.


One gigabyte is NOT 1,000,000,000 bytes Bytes are to be numbered in binary unit. 1 Kilobyte is 2exp10 = 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 (10 times) = 1,024 bytes 1 Megabyte is 1,024 Kilobytes 1 gig is 1,024 Megabytes = 1,048,576 Kilobytes = 1,073,741,824 bytes, yes it is roughly 1 billion I give you that one.

[Mootguy: Thanks for correcting me.]
sebtrois at

Finally... one I got!
trexintar at

A bit is a single 0/1 value, and can also be a job, act, or routine in performance.

[Mootguy: But it's not a musical performance.]
danab5322 at

I've always thought that the origin of "gig" had to be "gigue" the dance.
vsv818 at

Well, I thought it was "octet" but of course that term is only used in French (for byte).
flandria at

actually, UNION works about as well-
nwieselq at

...and, moreover, as any working musician will tell you, most gigs do indeed byte.
jacko at

Utter pedantry alert: the first 'g' in 'gig[abyte]' should really be pronounced with a soft 'g', like Back to the Future's 1.21 gigawatts. I don't know anyone who actually pronounces it that way, though. Of course a 'jig' is *also* something which often employs a musician.
wiml at

I think "gigue", the dance, led to "jig" the dance.
smeep at

Copyright 1998-2009 Blair Arts Ltd. All rights reserved.