Word of the Day : May 25, 2015


noun KAL-uh-thump


: a noisy boisterous band or parade

Did You Know?

Callithump and the related adjective callithumpian are Americanisms, but their roots stretch back to England. In the 19th century, the noun callithumpians 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.


Anyone who wants to participate in the town's annual Memorial Day callithump should be at the elementary school by 10 a.m.

"Almost wherever you are in the Los Angeles area Sunday, there's a parade coming your way. Yes, it's callithump time in and about the City of Angels, and whether you prefer the traditional, the eclectic or the absurd, you'll have your choice of pageants." - Michael Welzenbach, Los Angeles Times, November 26, 1988

Test Your Vocabulary

Unscramble the letters to create a word for a noisy, attention-getting demonstration or talk or excited commotion: YLHOBOAL. The answer is …


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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