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

Definition of callithump

: a noisy boisterous band or parade

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from callithump

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

Did You Know?

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about callithump

Listen to Our Podcast about callithump

Statistics for callithump

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for callithump

The first known use of callithump was in 1843

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on callithump

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with callithump

Comments on callithump

What made you want to look up callithump? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a bell tower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!