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nonsense refrain in songs, probably from Old English la, a common exclamation; but la-la is imitative of babbling speech in many languages (cf. Greek lalage "babble, prattle," Sanskrit lalalla "imitation of stammering" Latin lallare "to sing to sleep, lull," German lallen "to stammer," Lithuanian laluoti "to stammer").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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  • He was leaning his hands on his stick and she reached out and took hold of it and says 'la-la!'

    Aliens William McFee
  • And I says 'see the nice gentleman's stick,' and she gurgles 'la-la!'

    Aliens William McFee
  • "It becomes us to take care of the pence now," she would say, and go on with her everlasting whistling, la-la.

  • "Tra-la la la-la-la-la, la-la la," he sang, snapping his fingers.

    One Man's Initiation--1917 John Dos Passos

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