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What is origin of the usage of the word 'do' when in reference to a social event (primarily in Britain)?

For example a 'Stag do' or 'Christmas fundraiser do'.

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2 Answers 2

The OED says for "do" 2b:

Something done in a set or formal manner; a performance; esp. an entertainment or show; a party; hence (orig. jocular), a military engagement, raid, or other ‘show’. Orig. dial. or vulgar.

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"Do" in this context, is an abbreviation for "doing." Then the meaning becomes clearer.

This is a British usage. A more common American usage would be a "going on."

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Have you any evidence for this suggestion? The OED does not support it. –  Colin Fine Oct 6 '11 at 13:11
@ColinFine: I believe this is an informal usage, which may be why the OED would not confirm this "formally." –  Tom Au Oct 6 '11 at 14:34
What has "formally" got to do with it? The OED lists several meanings for the noun "doing", some of them marked as "slang" or "colloquial", but not including this meaning. I'm quite prepared to believe that in some dialect of English "doing" might have this meaning, (even though I've never heard it and the OED has not recorded it); but I see no evidence that "do" in this sense comes from that use, which is what you claimed. –  Colin Fine Oct 7 '11 at 8:41

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