much ado about nothing

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Early 1500s, and first found in "The defense of the aunswere to the Admonition, against the replie of T.C" a 1574 pamphlet by John Whitgift (Archbishop of Canterbury from 1583 to 1604).

Made popular and particularly known from the title of the 1598 comedy play Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare had earlier used ado ("business", "activity") in the play Romeo and Juliet (1592) "Weele keepe no great adoe, a Friend or two.", though it is now frequently used to mean fuss as a contraction of the phrase here; nothing in the title of the play is a wordplay which can also mean noting ("to notice") besides the usual meaning of nothing.


  • IPA(key): /mʌtʃ əˈduː əˈbaʊt ˈnʌθɪŋ/
  • (file)


much ado about nothing

  1. (idiomatic) A lot of fuss or bother about something trivial.