[ rah ]
/ rɑ /
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(used as an exclamation of encouragement to a player or team.)
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Origin of rah

First recorded in 1865–70; short for hurrah
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does rah mean?

Rah is a word that’s shouted as a cheer, typically by cheerleaders or fans at sporting events.

It’s associated with traditional cheers that are used to cheer on a team or player—like the classic rah, rah, sis boom bah. 

Due to its use as a cheer, rah is almost always spoken (shouted, actually) and is rarely written, except perhaps in descriptions of cheers.

Example: Led by the cheerleaders, the crowd cheered “rah, rah!” as the team ran onto the field.

Where does rah come from?

The first records of the word rah come from around 1870. It is a shortening of hurrah, which comes from the similar German term hurra. Hurrah may have been based on or influenced by the earlier and very similar huzzah. Huzzah is thought to come from a word that sailors used to shout in celebration. It may derive from the word hoise, meaning “to hoist”—which they’d shout when hoisting (raising) something, like the sails of the ship.

Repetition of the word rah can be heard in many traditional cheers. Use of the term in this way led to the term rah-rah, which is an adjective used to describe an enthusiastic attitude or spirit or actions motivated by such spirit. It often implies that someone is cheering on something in an uncritical or overly enthusiastic way, as in His rah-rah attitude about the company has prevented him from seeing its flaws.

Did you know ... ?

What are some words that share a root or word element with rah

What are some words that often get used in discussing rah?

How is rah used in real life?

Rah is almost exclusively used as a cheer at sporting events. Occasionally, it appears in parts of songs modeled after such cheers.



Try using rah!

Which of the following people are LEAST likely to chant the word rah at a sporting event to encourage the home team?

A. the home team’s fans
B. the home team’s cheerleaders
C. the home team’s mascot
D. the opposing team’s fans

How to use rah in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rah

/ (rɑː) /

informal, mainly US short for hurrah
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