[ noun bal-ee-hoo; verb bal-ee-hoo, bal-ee-hoo ]
/ noun ˈbæl iˌhu; verb ˈbæl iˌhu, ˌbæl iˈhu /

noun, plural bal·ly·hoos.

a clamorous and vigorous attempt to win customers or advance any cause; blatant advertising or publicity.
clamor or outcry.
a halfbeak, Hemiramphus brasiliensis, inhabiting both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

verb (used with or without object), bal·ly·hooed, bal·ly·hoo·ing.

to advertise or push by ballyhoo.

Nearby words

  1. balls-up,
  2. ballsy,
  3. ballup,
  4. ballwin,
  5. bally,
  6. ballymena,
  7. ballymoney,
  8. ballyrag,
  9. balm,
  10. balm of gilead

Origin of ballyhoo

An Americanism dating back to 1830–40; of uncertain origin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ballyhooed

British Dictionary definitions for ballyhooed


/ (ˌbælɪˈhuː) /

noun informal

a noisy, confused, or nonsensical situation or uproar
sensational or blatant advertising or publicity

verb -hoos, -hooing or -hooed

(tr) mainly US to advertise or publicize by sensational or blatant methods

Word Origin for ballyhoo

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

Word Origin and History for ballyhooed



"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