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 confusedà deux adieu ado

Synonyms for ado

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.

Antonyms for ado Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ado

Historical Examples of ado

  • You owe it me, for am I not in part to blame for all this ado?

  • 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?


    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

British Dictionary definitions for ado



bustling activity; fuss; bother; delay (esp in the phrases without more ado, with much ado)

Word Origin for ado

C14: from the phrase at do a to-do, from Old Norse at to (marking the infinitive) + do 1


abbreviation for

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

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