• synonyms


[hur-lee-bur-lee, -bur-]
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noun, plural hurl·y-burl·ies.
  1. noisy disorder and confusion; commotion; uproar; tumult.
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  1. full of commotion; tumultuous.
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Origin of hurly-burly

1520–30; alteration of hurling (and) burling, rhyming phrase based on hurling in its (now obsolete) sense of tumult, uproar
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for hurly-burly

confusion, tumult, turbulence, turmoil, uproar

Examples from the Web for hurly-burly

Historical Examples of hurly-burly

  • I went on, a thought coming to the surface in the hurly-burly of my mind.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • In the hurly-burly and the general shriek for mercy his reassurances were not heard.

  • They tell me you were the man who pulled me out of that hurly-burly.

  • It was all hurly-burly, and every one was ordered immediately to quarters.

  • But what can have brought you into this hurly-burly of folly and wickedness?

British Dictionary definitions for hurly-burly


noun plural hurly-burlies
  1. confusion or commotion
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  1. turbulent
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Word Origin for hurly-burly

C16: from earlier hurling and burling, rhyming phrase based on hurling in obsolete sense of uproar
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 hurly-burly

also hurlyburly, 1530s, apparently an alteration of phrase hurling and burling, reduplication of 14c. hurling "commotion, tumult," verbal noun of hurl (q.v.). Hurling time was the name applied by chroniclers to the period of tumult and commotion around Wat Tyler's rebellion.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper