huzzah vs hooray

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Senior Member
Poland, Polish
Even Scootie was greeted with huzzahs, petted and nuzzled.

I've looked it up and found out that huzzah is synonymic to hooray, but are both the words used equally often?
  • gasman

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Huzzah sounds very Dickensian to me. I don't believe I have ever seen the word used in a modern setting.


    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    I don't know if it's because I'm American, but I've only ever heard 'huzzah' used in jest or in a consciously archaic way (at a Renaissance fair, for example).


    USA English
    I would have to agree with Franzi, it is not used very often in the USA at all. It was strange because I looked at the question and asked myself "what's a Huzzah?" So I would have to say that hooray is certainly more popular in the USA.


    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    I hear it used occasionally, but only in a sort of ironic way where the person is consciously trying to sound old-fashioned or perhaps being sarcastic. e.g. "Left-over brussels sprouts for dinner, huzzah!" - because 'huzzah' isn't ever used seriously these days, it's obvious that the person is being sarcastic.

    El escoces

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    "Huzzah" sounds very P G Wodehouse to me. You don't hear it much in British English (except perhaps in similar circumstances to those referred to by Gwan). Not that you hear "hooray" much now either....
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    New Member
    OK for some reason I've become curious about these two words and have been running a few searches on this.

    What I've noticed historically is that Huzzah seems to have been replaced by Hurray ("Hip, Hip Huzzah" and "Hip, Hip, Hurray"). What I cannot find is exactly when or why. As best as I've been able to find it seems to have happened somewhere between the Civil War and the Second World War (yeah, I know that's almost 100 years).

    Anyone got any other insights?


    Senior Member
    Hi kjamesb et al,
    For what it's worth, here is what the OED has to say about the etyomology of hurrah, including some speculation about why it replaced huzzah:

    [A later substitute for HUZZA (not in Johnson, Ash, Walker; in Todd 1818), perh. merely due to onomatopoeic modification, but possibly influenced by some foreign shouts: cf. Sw., Da., LG. hurra!, Du. hoera!, Russ. urá! whence F. houra; F. hourra is from Eng. MHG. had hurr, hurrâ, as interjections representing rapid whirring motion (cf. hurren to rush), whence also a shout used in chasing. According to Moriz Heyne in Grimm, hurrah was the battle-cry of the Prussian soldiers in the War of Liberation (1812-13), and has since been a favourite cry of soldiers and sailors, and of exultation....]

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    The OED gives evidence that hurrah and hurray replaced huzza sometime at the beginning of the 19th century, as it appears in the dictionary by Todd in 1818, but not the earlier famous dictionaries. The OED also suggests that the change may have been influenced by the many foreign shouts more similar to "hurrah" (e.g. Swedish, Dutch, German, Russian and French), or it may be an onomatopoeic change (people's ideas of how things sound change over time).
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