Definition of hurly-burly in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌhərlēˈbərlē/


Busy, boisterous activity: the hurly-burly of school life
More example sentences
  • However, I must confess that with age has come a certain distaste for the noise, the crowds and the whole hurly-burly of mass protest.
  • Despite all the pomp and circumstance, political hurly-burly raised its head at yesterday's festivities.
  • Anyway, Gus was so exquisite he used not to take part in the rough hurly-burly of football matches, but would remain aloof in perfectly clean kit.


Middle English: reduplication based on hurl.

  • topsy-turvy from early 16th century:

    Things have been topsy-turvy since at least 1528. The term is probably based on top and turve, an old word meaning ‘to topple over, overturn’; the extra -ys are similar to those in hurly-burly (M16th from ‘hurling’ meaning ‘commotion’) and arsy-versy (also M16th, from arse and Latin versus, ‘turned’).

Words that rhyme with hurly-burly

Burghley, Burley, burly, curly, early, girlie, hurley, pearly, Shirley, surly, swirly, twirly

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hurl·y-burl·y

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