[ hur-lee-bur-lee, -bur- ]
/ ˈhɜr liˈbɜr li, -ˌbɜr- /

noun, plural hurl·y-burl·ies.

noisy disorder and confusion; commotion; uproar; tumult.


full of commotion; tumultuous.

Origin of hurly-burly

1520–30; alteration of hurling (and) burling, rhyming phrase based on hurling in its (now obsolete) sense of tumult, uproar Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hurly-burly

British Dictionary definitions for hurly-burly


/ (ˈhɜːlɪˈbɜːlɪ) /

noun plural hurly-burlies

confusion or commotion



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper