Printable Version
Pronunciation: hê-lê-bê-lu Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: [Slangy] 1. A loud, noisy rebellion or protest; an uproar. 2. A highly complicated response or reaction.

Notes: The trick to using this word correctly is in remembering which L is doubled—only the first, generally, though doubling both is acceptable. We should also keep in mind that the final [u] sound is spelled OO. If you need a verb to indicate raising a big hullabaloo, just use the noun itself (English loves to verb its nouns): "After all that hullabalooing, nothing of any significance happened."

In Play: Hullabaloos are usually raised or put up: "Adam Bahm raised a big hullabaloo at the police station over his wife's changing the locks on the doors to their house." Any large uproar hard to ignore counts as a hullabaloo: "I thought the public would have put up a bigger hullabaloo over the tax break that the local bubble-gum factory received."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes directly from an old rhyming compound, halloo-balloo. This compound is a later guise for an earlier compound hollo-ballo, based on Hollo!, a shout to attract the attention of someone in the distance and get them to stop. It was also a hunting cry for summoning dogs together for the chase. Because it often was used with Ho!, Holla ho!, some have speculated that it originated in an Old French expression hola from ho "Ho! + la "there". Hollo, of course, went on to become today's hello.

Dr. Goodword,

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