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[uh-doo] /əˈdu/
busy activity; bustle; fuss.
Origin of ado
1250-1300; Middle English (north) at do, a phrase equivalent to at to (< Old Norse, which used at with the infinitive) + do do1
Can be confused
à deux, adieu, ado.
flurry; confusion, upset, excitement; hubbub, noise, turmoil.
calm, peace, tranquillity.
Synonym Study
Ado, to-do, commotion, stir, tumult suggest a great deal of fuss and noise. Ado implies a confused bustle of activity, a considerable emotional upset, and a great deal of talking: Much Ado About Nothing. To-do, now more commonly used, may mean merely excitement and noise and may be pleasant or unpleasant: a great to-do over a movie star. Commotion suggests a noisy confusion and babble: commotion at the scene of an accident. Stir suggests excitement and noise, with a hint of emotional cause: The report was followed by a tremendous stir in the city. Tumult suggests disorder with noise and violence: a tumult as the mob stormed the Bastille. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ado
Historical Examples
  • You owe it me, for am I not in part to blame for all this ado?

    Bardelys the Magnificent Rafael Sabatini
  • I had some ado to keep the joy from my eyes when I heard them planning it.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • Why, then, all this ado about a bunch of empty threats cast at us by the Duke of Babbiano?

    Love-at-Arms Raphael Sabatini
  • You have made such an ado about the man, I am disposed to be interested in him, for your sake.

    A Pessimist Robert Timsol
  • “I have ado but with two of you,” she said, as she seated herself.

    A Forgotten Hero Emily Sarah Holt
  • And I remember what ado the ushers had with the lads on the training days.

    With the King at Oxford Alfred J. Church
  • Indians like to get along with the least possible communication and ado.

    The Maine Woods

    Henry David Thoreau
  • Finally, without any ado, he put his hands on hers and made her stop.

    The Annals of Ann Kate Trimble Sharber
  • It was hopelessly lost and she dare not make any ado or inquiry about it.

    Mildred at Roselands Martha Finley
  • I had ado to make him heed me, but he did heed me, and he got so that he couldnt fail.

    Old Mole Gilbert Cannan
British Dictionary definitions for ado


bustling activity; fuss; bother; delay (esp in the phrases without more ado, with much ado)
Word Origin
C14: from the phrase at do a to-do, from Old Norse at to (marking the infinitive) + do1


accumulated day off
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ado

late 14c., "conflict, fighting; difficulty, trouble," compounded from at do, dialectal in Norse influenced areas of England for to do, as some Scandinavian languages used at with infinitive of a verb where Modern English uses to. For sense development, cf. to-do. Meaning "fuss" is from early 15c. Also used in Middle English for "dealings, traffic," and "sexual intercourse" (both c.1400).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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