Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?
"remarkable person or thing," 1886 (first attested in a baseball article from New Orleans, U.S.), of uncertain origin; some suggest a connection to earlier looly "beautiful girl," of unknown origin. But the reference more likely is to Lulu Hurst (1869-1950), the "Georgia Wonder," who was a popular attraction 1883-85 demonstrating her supposed mysterious "force" that allowed her to effortlessly move, with just a light touch, umbrellas and canes held tight by others. She barnstormed the U.S. and, at 15, was, briefly, one of the most famous women in the land. The skeptics soon explained her trick and burst the bubble, but not before her name was used as a word:
Such [musically uneducated persons] start from the avowed or unavowed supposition that the pianist or violinist's art necessitates no higher qualities than does plate-spinning, dancing, or the feats of a Lulu. ["The Hero as Virtuoso," in "London Society magazine," 1883]
[1886+; origin unknown; earlier looly, ''beautiful girl,'' is attested; perhaps fr the cowboy term loo loo, ''a winning hand,'' explained as a hand invented by local people in order to win a game from a stranger ''for the good of the loo,'' where loo means ''party, set, community''; this sense of loo is related to the popular 18th-century card game of the same name, fr lanterloo fr French lanterlu, a nonsense phrase in the refrain of a song]
An undesirable use of land
[1989+; acronym of locally undesirable land use]