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From Middle English hallow (pursue, urge on), from Old French haloer, which is imitative.



  1. Used to greet someone, or to catch their attention.
  2. Used in hunting to urge on the pursuers.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 65:
      "Halloo! " cried the goodwife, and away she ran after it, with the frying-pan in one hand and the ladle in the other, as fast as she could, and the children behind her, while the goodman came limping after, last of all.


halloo (plural halloos)

  1. A shout of halloo.
    • 1634, John Milton, Comus, in Poems of Mr. John Milton, both English and Latin, London: Humphrey Moseley, 1645, p. 96,[1]
      List, list, I hear
      Som far off hallow break the silent Air.
    • 1847, Herman Melville, Omoo, Chapter 70,[2]
      At almost any time of the day—save ever the sacred hour of noon—you may see the fish-hunters pursuing their sport; with loud halloos, brandishing their spears, and splashing through the water in all directions.
    • 1962, Joan Aiken, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, New York: Doubleday, Chapter 3, p. 25,[3]
      She was afraid that her faint cry would not be heard, but at least one member of the group responded to it, for there was an answering halloo, and a small figure detached itself from the rest and darted forward.


halloo (third-person singular simple present halloos or hallooes, present participle hallooing, simple past and past participle hallooed)

  1. (intransitive) To shout halloo.
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2, Act I, Scene 2,[4]
      For voice—I have lost it with hallooing and singing of anthems.
    • 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, London: W. Taylor, pp. 310-311,[5]
      [] they set up two or three great Shouts, hollowing with all their might, to try if they could make their Companions hear; but all was to no purpose:
    • 1857, S. H. Hammond, Wild Northern Scenes[6]:
      As our object was rather to enjoy the music of the chase, than to capture the deer, they shouted and hallooed as he entered the water, and he wheeled back, and went tearing in huge affright through the woods, up the island again.
    • 1907, William Hope Hodgson, The Boats of the "Glen Carrig"[7]:
      As we ran, we hallooed, and so came upon the boy, and I saw that he had my sword.
    • 1917, Charles S. Brooks, There's Pippins And Cheese To Come[8]:
      We hallooed again, to rouse the trapper.
  2. (transitive) To encourage with shouts; to egg (someone) on.
    • 1692, Richard Davis, Truth and Innocency Vindicated against Falshood & Malice, London: Nath. and Robert Ponder, p. 6,[9]
      There is no place left to suspect, but that there were Managers of the Party, who clap’d their hands, and halloo’d the giddy young People to such rash Undertakings.
    • 1718, Matthew Prior, Alma, or, The Progress of the Mind, Canto 2, in Poems on Several Occasions, London: J. Tonson and J. Barber, Volume 2, p. 101,[10]
      Old JOHN halloo’s his hounds again:
    • 1735, George Berkeley, A Defence of Free-Thinking in Mathematics, London: J. Tonson, p. 12,[11]
      “Let us burn or hang up all the Mathematicians in Great Britain, or halloo the mob upon them to tear them to pieces every Mother’s Son of them []
    • 1838, William Gilmore Simms, “The Cherokee Embassage” in Carl Werner, an Imaginative Story, with Other Tales of Imagination, New York: George Adlard, Volume 2, pp. 187-188,[12]
      He played with Jacko like a child—rolled with him about the decks—hallooed him on to all manner of mischief—clapped his hands and cheered him in his performance, and then, in his own language, pronounced a high eulogy upon his achievements.
    • 1915, Frederick Scott Oliver, Ordeal by Battle, London: Macmillan, Chapter 3, p. 29,[13]
      It is not credible that Germany was blind to the all-but-inevitable results of letting Austria loose to range around, of hallooing her on, and of comforting her with assurances of loyal support.
  3. (transitive) To chase with shouts or outcries.
    • c. 1607,, William Shakespeare, Coriolanus, Act I, Scene 8,[14]
      If I fly, Coriolanus,
      Holloa me like a hare.
    • 1694, Robert Ferguson, A Letter to the Right Honourable Sir John Holt, Kt. Lord Chief Justice of the Kings Bench, London, p. 8,[15]
      [] the unhappy Man was halloo’d and persued to Death []
    • 1915, E. D. Cuming, Fox and Hounds, London: Hodder and Stoughton, p. 7,[16]
      Now, if you can keep your brother sportsmen in order, and put any discretion into them, you are in luck; they more frequently do harm than good: if it be possible, persuade those who wish to halloo the fox off, to stand quiet under the cover-side, and on no account to halloo him too soon []
  4. (transitive) To call or shout to; to hail.
    • 1955, W. H. Auden, “Lakes” in Selected Poetry of W. H. Auden, New York: Modern Library, 1959, p. 149,[17]
      A lake allows an average father, walking slowly,
      To circumvent it in an afternoon,
      And any healthy mother to halloo the children
      Back to her bedtime from their games across:
    • 1974, James Purdy, The House of the Solitary Maggot, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, p. 300,[18]
      She pulled her vehicle to an abrupt stop, and then hallooed him.
  5. (transitive) To shout (something).

Related terms[edit]