Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Wednesday's Random Slang-o-rama: Brouhaha


Ohhhhh did I really try to use brouhaha in the upcoming book in my Silver Rush series? *

Yes, yes I did. But I was gently corrected, because....
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
...according to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (I have the 10th edition, which I'm looking at right now), brouhaha, which means hubbub or uproar, was first used in 1890.

Well, dang. 

I'm nine years ahead of timeframe with that one.

You must admit, it is a fun word to say and spell. And it sure sounds "period." I wonder how it evolved... hmmm.... It turns out World Wide Words has the skinny on brouhaha:


... It’s a negative word for some unpleasant confusion; a more neutral alternative might be the equally odd-looking hubbub. We know the word came from the French word spelled the same way; it’s found in French from the sixteenth century on, but it only arrived in English at the end of the nineteenth century. It seems to have been used in French drama as a noise made by the devil, who cried brou, ha, ha!.
Many etymologists will say that the word was just a noisy nonsense exclamation that imitated the thing it referred to. But there is a theory, put forward by Walther von Wartburg, that it actually comes from the Hebrew barukh habba, meaning “welcome” — literally “blessed be the one who comes”...
The post goes on to say that there may be a different derivation. A WWW subscriber, who did some work on the origins of brou in French, suggested a more likely origin may be bull baiting and that the word may be linked to the Italian or Spanish bravo. He pointed to the French rabrouer, to taunt, as a linked term.

Fascinating, eh? Alas, I shall have to nudge my series forward almost a decade before I can use this word.
Is it a brouhaha or a revolution or a welcoming committee?
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay


* And here comes the BSP (blatant book promotion): The next book in my Silver Rush series is Mortal Music. MM is scheduled for release in late January. If this makes your "buy now" senses come alive, you can pre-order it at indiebound, amazon, B&N, and so on and so forth....

3 comments:

Liz V. said...

Best wishes on Mortal Music!

It's a surprise to me that the adoption into English took so long, given the number of French refugees in England and the United States from the Revolution on.

Ann Parker said...

Thank you, Liz!
And yes, I was surprised the term arrived in the U.S. that late in the 19th century. In fact, I used brouhaha in a much earlier Silver Rush book (but I'm not saying which one!). ;-) An "oops" that slid by...

Liz V. said...

FYI http://languagehat.com/brouhaha/