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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ado
Historical Examples
  • As the resolution is not easily divisible, we insert the whole of it, making no ado on the score of modesty.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus American Anti-Slavery Society
  • You owe it me, for am I not in part to blame for all this ado?

    Bardelys the Magnificent Rafael Sabatini
  • A roar of unrestrained laughter went up at this witticism, and the orator had some ado to master his wrath.

    Captain Calamity Rolf Bennett
  • I had some ado to keep the joy from my eyes when I heard them planning it.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • Therefore, consciously, that was what one was in for—for positively organising an ado about Isabel Archer.

  • And I remember what ado the ushers had with the lads on the training days.

    With the King at Oxford Alfred J. Church
  • Ranulph had some ado not to smile; the speaker was so small and the tone so assured.

  • Indians like to get along with the least possible communication and ado.

    The Maine Woods Henry David Thoreau
  • He had said so much to my honour before, that Wendelius was almost making an ado about it.

  • It was hopelessly lost and she dare not make any ado or inquiry about it.

    Mildred at Roselands Martha Finley
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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