nonsense refrain in songs, probably from O.E. la, a common exclamation; but la-la is imitative of babbling speech in many languages (cf. Gk. lalage "babble, prattle," Skt. lalalla "imitation of stammering" L. lallare "to sing to sleep, lull," Ger. lallen "to stammer," Lith. laluoti "to stammer").