“Ado” Versus “Adieu”

Michael D. From San Francisco desires to recognize why he maintains seeing people write ?Without in addition adieu? Rather than ?Without similarly ado.?

"Is it sheer lack of awareness or hypercorrection?? He asks.

The right form is ?Without in addition ado?; an ado is a hubbub, a bustle, a flurry, or a fuss. Another not unusual phrase, from the title of a Shakespeare play, is ?Lots ado about not anything.?

“Adieu” is the French word for “goodbye.” English just borrowed it directly from  French.

“Ado” was originally a contraction of the words “at do,” which was another way of saying “to do” because some of the languages spoken by the Norse invaders in northern England used the word “at” the way we use the word “to.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it looks like “ado” is still used to mean “to do” in Scottish English and maybe in northern England. Here’s an example sentence from a Scottish Dictionary published in the 1970s.

I’ll hae plenty adee atween this and Whitsunday.

That is a surely amusing sentence, so I?M going to take a minute apart with it.

First, ?Adee? Seems to be a Scottish dialect shape of ?Ado,? In order that?S why the sentence is indexed for instance of ?Ado,? But definitely uses ?Adee.?

Second, what the heck is ?Whitsunday??

Well, it seems that Whitsunday is considered one of 4 Scottish region days. Whitsunday is in May, after which Lammas is in August, Martinmas is in November, and Candelmas is in February. These are relatively just like British and Irish sector days, that are Lady Day, Midsummer Day, Michaelmas, and Christmas, despite the fact that those fall on special calendar days from the Scottish days.

All of these region days are days for quarterly activities which the OED indicates might be keeping quarterly conferences, hiring human beings, paying rent, or beginning a tenancy. I?M now not sure why the ones previous few might appear quarterly, but it?S still an interesting little tidbit.

And now, back to ?Ado.?

I can’t be certain why people get it wrong, but the substitution of the French “adieu” for the “ado” is what linguists call an eggcorn—when people confuse two words that sound…

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