[ hur-lee-bur-lee, -bur- ]
See synonyms for hurly-burly on
noun,plural hurl·y-burl·ies.
  1. noisy disorder and confusion; commotion; uproar; tumult.

  1. 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

Words Nearby hurly-burly Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use hurly-burly in a sentence

  • This hurly-burly,” said he, drawing her into a quiet eddy of the stream, “is no place for the communion of two twin souls.

  • The merchants were packing up their goods; housewives were secreting their silver; everywhere there was a hurly-burly.

    The Boys of '61 | Charles Carleton Coffin.
  • In fact, there was a wild hurly-burly upon the bridge, which nearly deafened me.

    Lavengro | George Borrow
  • In this hurly-burly of affright and excitement, the missionary compressed his lips to keep back the tugging smile.

    The Phantom of the River | Edward S. Ellis
  • And everybody slept soundly; that isnt surprising after the hurly-burly of the night before last; we were tired out.

British Dictionary definitions for hurly-burly


/ (ˈhɜːlɪˈbɜːlɪ) /

nounplural hurly-burlies
  1. confusion or commotion

  1. turbulent

Origin of 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