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lulu1

[loo-loo]
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noun
  1. Slang. any remarkable or outstanding person or thing: His black eye is a lulu.
  2. (initial capital letter) a female given name, form of Louise.

Origin of lulu1

First recorded in 1855–60; in slang sense, perhaps generic use of the proper name

lulu2

[loo-loo]
noun Slang.
  1. a fixed allowance paid to a legislator in lieu of reimbursement for actual expenses.

Origin of lulu2

special use of lulu1, with play on lieu, from a facetious remark attributed to New York governor Al Smith
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for lulu

lulu

noun
  1. slang a person or thing considered to be outstanding in size, appearance, etc

Word Origin

C19: probably from the nickname for Louise
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

Word Origin and History for lulu

n.

"remarkable person or thing," 1886 (first attested in a baseball article from New Orleans, U.S.), of uncertain origin; some suggest a connection to earlier looly "beautiful girl," of unknown origin. But the reference more likely is to Lulu Hurst (1869-1950), the "Georgia Wonder," who was a popular attraction 1883-85 demonstrating her supposed mysterious "force" that allowed her to effortlessly move, with just a light touch, umbrellas and canes held tight by others. She barnstormed the U.S. and, at 15, was, briefly, one of the most famous women in the land. The skeptics soon explained her trick and burst the bubble, but not before her name was used as a word:

Such [musically uneducated persons] start from the avowed or unavowed supposition that the pianist or violinist's art necessitates no higher qualities than does plate-spinning, dancing, or the feats of a Lulu. ["The Hero as Virtuoso," in "London Society magazine," 1883]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper