noun, plural to-dos. Informal.

bustle; fuss: They made a great to-do over the dinner.

Origin of to-do

before 900; Middle English, Old English; noun use of infinitive phrase; see to, do1, ado

Synonym study

See ado. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for to-do

Contemporary Examples of to-do

Historical Examples of to-do

  • If she gits a premium for puttin' up gardin-sass, I'll warrant there'll be a to-do.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • Emma Torrance flings open the door grandly, and we learn what all the to-do is about.

    Echoes of the War

    J. M. Barrie

  • And I must laugh to see my neighbours making a to-do about a mercantile bargain.

  • But on leaving we were met by the farmer, who made a to-do, charging us with trespassing.


    Charles Godfrey Leland

  • Wal, there was an awful row and a to-do about it, you may be sure.

    Oldtown Fireside Stories

    Harriet Beecher Stowe

British Dictionary definitions for to-do


noun plural -dos

a commotion, fuss, or quarrel
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 to-do

1570s, from the verb phrase to do, from Old English to don "proper or necessary to be done" (see to). Meaning "disturbance, fuss" is first recorded 1827.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper