cal·​li·​thump | \ ˈka-lə-ˌthəmp How to pronounce callithump (audio) \

Definition of callithump

: a noisy boisterous band or parade

Other Words from callithump

callithumpian \ ˌka-​lə-​ˈthəm-​pē-​ən How to pronounce callithump (audio) \ adjective

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Callithump and the related adjective "callithumpian" are Americanisms, but their roots stretch back to England. In the 19th century, the noun "callithumpian" was used in the U.S. of boisterous roisterers who had their own makeshift New Year's parade. Their band instruments consisted of crude noisemakers such as pots, tin horns, and cowbells. The antecedent of "callithumpians" is an 18th-century British dialect term for another noisy group, the "Gallithumpians," who made a rumpus on election days in southern England. Today, the words "callithump" and "callithumpian" see occasional use, especially in the names of specific bands and parades. The callithumpian bands and parades of today are more organized than those of the past, but they retain an association with noise and boisterous fun.

First Known Use of callithump

1843, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for callithump

back-formation from callithumpian, adjective, alteration of English dialect gallithumpian disturber of order at elections in 18th century

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The first known use of callithump was in 1843

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Cite this Entry

“Callithump.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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