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ballyhoo

[noun bal-ee-hoo; verb bal-ee-hoo, bal-ee-hoo] /noun ˈbæl iˌhu; verb ˈbæl iˌhu, ˌbæl iˈhu/
noun, plural ballyhoos.
1.
a clamorous and vigorous attempt to win customers or advance any cause; blatant advertising or publicity.
2.
clamor or outcry.
3.
a halfbeak, Hemiramphus brasiliensis, inhabiting both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
verb (used with or without object), ballyhooed, ballyhooing.
4.
to advertise or push by ballyhoo.
Origin of ballyhoo
1830-1840
An Americanism dating back to 1830-40; of uncertain origin
Synonyms
1. buildup, hoopla, fanfare; hype.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ballyhoo
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • With a bait like a ballyhoo or a shiner I could get ten bites to one with mullet.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • The ballyhoo upon the elevated platform without had been completed.

    Sundry Accounts

    Irvin S. Cobb
  • In the first place the ballyhoo advertisers have shouted the public deaf.

  • Why, once he took a job as a ballyhoo at a show on the Bowery in Coney Island.

    Ruth Fielding Down East

    Alice B. Emerson
  • Why not hire a band, too; and get a ballyhoo to bark for your show?

    Rich Man, Poor Man

    Maximilian Foster
  • ballyhoo” fixed his eye on one of the red men, who seemed to be at the rear.

    The Great Cattle Trail Edward S. Ellis
  • There is no danger,” he replied, calmly puffing his pipe; “is there, ballyhoo?

    The Great Cattle Trail Edward S. Ellis
  • It struck the youth as strange that ballyhoo should stop after starting for the dwelling.

    The Great Cattle Trail Edward S. Ellis
British Dictionary definitions for ballyhoo

ballyhoo

/ˌbælɪˈhuː/
noun (informal)
1.
a noisy, confused, or nonsensical situation or uproar
2.
sensational or blatant advertising or publicity
verb -hoos, -hooing, -hooed
3.
(transitive) (mainly US) to advertise or publicize by sensational or blatant methods
Word Origin
C19: of uncertain origin
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 ballyhoo
n.

"publicity, hype," 1908, from circus slang, "a short sample of a sideshow" (1901), of unknown origin. There is a village of Ballyhooly in County Cork, Ireland. In nautical lingo, ballahou or ballahoo (1867, perhaps 1836) meant "an ungainly vessel," from Spanish balahu "schooner."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for ballyhoo

ballyhoo

modifier

: a ballyhoo expert

noun

Advertising or publicity, esp of a raucous and colorful sort; flack, hype: to peddle a product with sheer ballyhoo

verb

: They ballyhooed him right into office

[1908+; ''a short sample of a sideshow, presented with a barker's spiel'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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16
17
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