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helter-skelter

[hel-ter-skel-ter] /ˈhɛl tərˈskɛl tər/
adverb
1.
in headlong and disorderly haste:
The children ran helter-skelter all over the house.
2.
in a haphazard manner; without regard for order:
Clothes were scattered helter-skelter about the room.
adjective
3.
carelessly hurried; confused:
They ran in a mad, helter-skelter fashion for the exits.
4.
disorderly; haphazard:
Books and papers were scattered on the desk in a helter-skelter manner.
noun
5.
tumultuous disorder; confusion.
Origin
1585-1595
1585-95; rhyming compound, perhaps based on *skelt, Middle English skelten to hasten (< ?); reduplication with initial h parallel to hubble-bubble, higgledy-piggledy, etc.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for helter-skelter

helter-skelter

/ˈhɛltəˈskɛltə/
adjective
1.
haphazard or carelessly hurried
adverb
2.
in a helter-skelter manner
noun
3.
(Brit) a high spiral slide, as at a fairground
4.
disorder or haste
Word Origin
C16: probably of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for helter-skelter
helter-skelter
1593, perhaps from skelte "to hasten, scatter hurriedly," with the first element merely for rhyme.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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