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What is the origin of ballyhoo?

Ballyhoo “blatant advertising or publicity” is a word with an unclear etymology. The word is an Americanism, meaning that it originated in the collection of dialects of English spoken in the United States, and along with fellow Americanisms such as hobo, jazz, and jitney, ballyhoo’s origins are obscure—though, of course, there abound several theories with varying degrees of probability. One proposal relates to ballyhoo’s earlier, now obsolete sense of “speech by a show presenter that boastfully advertises a performance,” which connects ballyhoo to carnival and circus lingo. From here, if this hypothesis holds weight, ballyhoo could be a shortened form of ballyhooly “Hell,” perhaps named rather unaffectionately after a village in northern County Cork, Ireland: the logic here is that, following the pattern of the phrase to raise hell, ballyhooly was clipped at the end and narrowed in definition from “Hell” to “clamor, outcry” and then again to “showman’s speech.” Other hypotheses about the origins of ballyhoo include an inversion of the elements that form hullabaloo “uproar.” Ballyhoo was first recorded in English in the 1830s.