Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Brouhaha

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is brouhaha. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Brouhaha is a synonym of both uproar and hubbub, and can mean “a noisy confusion of sound” or “state of commotion.”

// A brouhaha erupted over the bill, even though the opposing party stood to gain just as much from its passage.

BROUHAHA in Context

“An international piano competition back in 1958—the Tchaikovsky, in Moscow—made Texas-raised Van Cliburn an overnight international celebrity. In the height of Cold War tensions, his face was splashed across front pages, and he was feted with a ticker tape parade on Wall Street. No classical music competition anywhere stirs up that kind of brouhahatoday.” — Scott Cantrell, The Dallas Morning News, 26 May 2022

Did You Know?

The English language borrowed brouhaha directly from French in the late 18th century, but its origins beyond that are uncertain—not quite the subject of noisy brouhaha but perhaps more modest debate. What’s less arguable is that brouhaha is fun to say, as are many of its synonyms, including hubbub, williwaw, hullabaloo, bobbery, and kerfuffle. And many of these, also like brouhaha, tend to suggest a certain judgment that the reason for all the foofaraw is a bit silly, or at least not worth getting all worked up about. A dad joke, for example, might raise some brouhaha, even though it’s really no reason for an uproar to brew. Haha!

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