Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



Possibly a rhyming reduplication of halloo (used as a greeting or to catch attention; used in hunting to urge on pursuers), hilloa, hullo (variants of hello), and similar words.[1]



hullabaloo (plural hullabaloos)

  1. A clamour, a commotion; a fuss or uproar. [from 17th c.]
    Synonyms: ado, hype, to-do; see also Thesaurus:commotion
    They made such a hullabaloo about the change that the authorities were forced to change it back.
    • 1844, Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby, or The New Generation, volume III, London: Henry Colburn, [], page 234–235:
      [] 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.
    • 1899 March, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number MI, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, [], OCLC 1042815524, part II:
      Certainly they had brought with them some rotten hippo–meat, which couldn’t have lasted very long, anyway, even if the pilgrims hadn’t, in the midst of a shocking hullabaloo, thrown a considerable quantity of it overboard.
    • 1967, Barbara Sleigh, Jessamy, Sevenoaks, Kent: Bloomsbury, published 1993, →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.

Alternative forms[edit]



hullabaloo (third-person singular simple present hullabaloos, present participle hullabalooing, simple past and past participle hullabalooed)

  1. (intransitive) To make a commotion or uproar.
    • 1844, George Carter Needham, 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, Cometh Up as a Flower: An Autobiography, volume I, London: Richard Bentley, [], pages 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, Dylan Thomas, “Author’s Prologue”, in Collected Poems, 1934–1952[1], 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[2]:
      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[3]:
      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.



  1. ^ hullabaloo, n. (and int.)”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1899; “hullabaloo, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

Further reading[edit]