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helter-skelter

Line breaks: helter-skelter
Pronunciation: /ˌhɛltəˈskɛltə
 
/

Definition of helter-skelter in English:

adjective& adverb

In disorderly haste or confusion: [as adjective]: the helter-skelter dash to unity [as adverb]: hurtling helter-skelter down the pavement
More example sentences
  • Tell them that you feel friendship is undervalued in this helter-skelter crazy materialistic world.
  • Approaching this year's jamboree in Gloucestershire, he is riding better than ever at 34, having put the brakes on a helter-skelter lifestyle.
  • The stunningly modern helter-skelter overpasses seem rather incongruous with a melange of bikes and cars that follow a system of road safety entirely their own.
Synonyms
headlong, pell-mell, hotfoot, post-haste, hastily, in a hurry, hurriedly, as fast as possible, as quickly as possible, at full speed, at full pelt, at full tilt, hell for leather, recklessly, precipitately, impetuously, impulsively, carelessly, heedlessly, wildly
informal like a bat out of hell, at a lick, like the wind, like greased lightning, like a bomb, like mad, like crazy, like blazes
North American informal lickety-split
literary apace, hurry-scurry

noun

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1British A fairground amusement consisting of a tall spiral slide winding around a tower.
Example sentences
  • There's a vast market, with traders clad in frock coats, a fairground with hurdy-gurdies and helter-skelters, an artificial ice rink and three outdoor stages full of choirs and bands.
  • There are waltzers, dodgems, helter-skelters and one or two old fashioned merry-go-rounds with properly painted horses.
  • In a bid to create a rival attraction to the London Eye and the Manchester Wheel, Ulverston Town Council decides to convert the monument into a helter-skelter.
2 [in singular] Disorder; confusion: the helter-skelter of a school day
More example sentences
  • That's the way it's supposed to be - an evolving drama with nuance, color, deliberate pacing, and bursts of action that take you away from the helter-skelter of our otherwise rush-rush worlds.
  • But why dwell on such things when the sun has returned with renewed resolve, teasing blooms from the helter-skelter of bare branches?
  • Also, you have to bear in mind that a pullout cannot just be a chaotic one, a helter-skelter.

Origin

late 16th century (as an adverb): a rhyming jingle of unknown origin, perhaps symbolic of running feet or from Middle English skelte 'hasten'.

More
  • pell-mell from (Late Middle English):

    People like words that combine two almost identical forms, like helter-skelter (late 16th century), mishmash (Late Middle English), namby-pamby, and wishy-washy (late 17th century)—and pell-mell. Its second element represents a form of French mesler ‘to mix’ (related to medley). The first part might be from pelle ‘shovel’, giving the sense ‘mixed together with a shovel’, but the simple love of rhyme may be the only explanation needed.

Words that rhyme with helter-skelter

belter, delta, melter, pelta, Shelta, shelter, swelter, welter

Definition of helter-skelter in:

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