helter-skelter

helter-skelter

[hel-ter-skel-ter]
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:
1585–95; rhyming compound, perhaps based on *skelt, Middle English skelten to hasten (< ?); reduplication with initial h parallel to hubble-bubble, higgledy-piggledy, etc.

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World English Dictionary
helter-skelter (ˈhɛltəˈskɛltə)
 
adj
1.  haphazard or carelessly hurried
 
adv
2.  in a helter-skelter manner
 
n
3.  (Brit) a high spiral slide, as at a fairground
4.  disorder or haste
 
[C16: probably of imitative origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

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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