Word of the Day : September 20, 2017

holus-bolus

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adverb hoh-lus-BOH-lus

Definition

: all at once

Examples

If you shout your questions at me holus-bolus, instead of asking them one at a time, then I won't be able to hear any of them.

"Grasses are a conundrum. If you plant too many, you end up with a hayfield—not a great look in a garden…. Lazy landscapers shove them in holus-bolus because they will survive just about anything." — Marjorie Harris, The Globe and Mail (Toronto), 30 May 2017



Did You Know?

The story of holus-bolus is not a hard one to swallow. Holus-bolus originated in English dialect in the mid-19th century and is believed to be a waggish reduplication of the word bolus. Bolus is from the Greek word bōlos, meaning "lump," and has retained that Greek meaning. In English, bolus has additionally come to mean "a large pill," "a mass of chewed food," or "a dose of a drug given intravenously." Considering this "lumpish" history, it's not hard to see how holus-bolus, a word meaning "all at once" or "all in a lump," came about.



Test Your Vocabulary

What adverb means "in an undecided or hesitating manner" and was formed by reduplication of the phrase "shall I"?

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