Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Is it possible that the word "hullabaloo" comes from Yiddish / Hebrew?

I translated a Yiddish story recently with the word behole (pronounced beHOLeh) which means an uproar and it came up again today in class at the Medem Bibliotheque. I can't find much of an entymology for the word hullabaloo and I'm wondering if it derives from this word in Yiddish which comes from the Hebrew. Wiktionary has a different guess:
The Oxford English Dictionary has this as a native English word, first appearing in print in 1762 (Smollett). The OED and other etymologists do not consider the possibility that the word was introduced from India into the English language. The term 'Hullabol' is still used in Indian English to describe a type of public demonstration, involving making a great noise.


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