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18th century, assumed to be created as a consonantally rhymed compound word of hallo/halloo (shouted interjection) + Scots balloo/baloo (lullaby), from Scottish Gaelic balbh, from Old Irish balb



hullaballoo (plural hullaballoos)

  1. A clamour, uproar or commotion.
    • 1967, Sleigh, Barbara, Jessamy, 1993 edition, Sevenoaks, Kent: Bloomsbury, →ISBN, page 32:
      ‘Sarah, could you bring me the calendar from the wall over there? Does it say the right date?’ ‘Two days behind – and small wonder no one tore it off with all the hullaballoo going on. Ever so pretty, isn’t it?’ said Sarah as she handed the calendar to Jessamy.
    • 1844, Disraeli, Benjamin, Coningsby, or The New Generation[1], volume III, London: Henry Colburn, Great Marlborough Street, page 234–235:
      Mr. Rigby had been shut up much at his villa of late. He was concocting, you could not term it composing, an article, a “very slashing article,” which was to prove that the Penny postage must be the destruction of the Aristocracy. It was a grand subject treated in his highest style. His parallel portraits of Rowland Hill, the Conqueror of Almarez, and Rowland Hill the devisor of the cheap postage, was enormously fine. It was full of passages in italics; little words in great capitals; and almost drew tears. The statistical details also were highly interesting and novel. Several of the old postmen, both twopenny and general, who had been in office with himself, and who were inspired with an equal zeal against that spirit of Reform of which they had alike been victims, supplied him with information which nothing but a breach of ministerial duty could have furnished. The prophetic peroration as to the irresistible progress of Democracy was almost as powerful as one of Rigby's speeches on Aldborough or Amersham. There never was a fellow for giving a good hearty kick to the people like Rigby. Himself sprung from the dregs of the populace, this was disinterested. What could be more patriotic and magnanimous than his Jeremiads over the fall of the Montmorencis and the Crillons, or the possible catastrophe of the Percys and the Manners! The truth of all this hullaballoo was that Rigby had a sly pension which, by an inevitable association of ideas, he always connected with the maintenance of an Aristocracy.




hullaballoo (third-person singular simple present hullaballoos, present participle hullaballooing, simple past and past participle hullaballooed)

  1. (intransitive) To make an uproar or commotion.
    • 1844, Needham, George Carter, Street Arabs and Gutter Snipes: The Pathetic and Humorous Side of Young Vagabond Life in the Great Cities, with Records of Work for Their Reclamation, D. L. Guernsey:
      They roared, they danced, they hullaballoed, they pinched one another; they behaved like young savages – but I knew I had got them safe.
    • 1867, Broughton, Rhoda, Cometh Up as a Flower. An Autobiography[2], volume I, London: Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street, page 53–54:
      ‘“Nonsense, child,” said my father, smiling. “Did you ever see a stone thrown into the pond? there's a great splash, and a few circles on the water, and that's about all, isn't it? Well, when I die there'll be a great splash of tears and hullaballooing, and a few circles of tender recollections, and then the surface will smooth itself over, and it'll be all right again.”
    • 1952, Thomas, Dylan, “Author’s Prologue”, in Collected Poems, 1934–1952[3], Dent:
      Ho, hullaballoing clan / Agape, with woe / In your beaks, on the gabbing capes!
    • 2012 October 30, Jessica Redmond, “It Was All Yellow: some dude defaces a rothko in the name of “yellowism””, in Columbia Spectator[4]:
      Twitter broke the news, and soon enough, the media hullaballooed over this latest act of art vandalism.
    • 2013 January 8, Rory Carroll, “CES 2013: TV companies hope size and sharpness are the future”, in The Guardian[5]:
      In addition to size, manufacturers hope to attract buyers with added gadgetry despite disappointing sales of 3D televisions, an innovation hullaballooed at CES last year only to flop in stores.