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Brouhaha is a French word sometimes used in English to describe an uproar or hubbub, a state of social agitation when a minor incident gets out of control.[1]


Typically, a brouhaha is marked by controversy and fuss that can seem, afterwards, to have been pointless or irrational.

Example incidents[edit]

In one such instance, in New York City, a dispute between a clinic entitled Upper Breast Side (that gives advice to young mothers about breastfeeding and bras) and a condo association erupted into a legal battle and was described in The Boston Globe as a brouhaha and a 'storm in a D-cup'.[2] The Washington Post described an incident as a brouhaha in which a passenger, on board a jetliner, reclined the seat to the point where it bothered a second passenger, resulting in a fistfight, intervention by flight attendants, and the plane returning to the airport escorted by fighter jets.[3] An instance of politics surrounding the choice of bus lanes in Los Angeles was described as a brouhaha when ineffective squabbling erupted that ultimately did not help efforts to improve public transit in the metropolis.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "brouhaha". The Free Dictionary. 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2011-06-13. An uproar; a hubbub.
  2. ^ Joanna Weiss (March 20, 2011). "The baby and breast brouhaha". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2011-06-13. Let's let the lawyers sort out the zoning disputes, and agree on this, instead: It's doubtful this brouhaha would have come up if babies and breasts weren't involved.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Staff writer (June 1, 2011). "Airplane annoyance leads to brouhaha in the skies over D.C." Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-06-13. Before things got out of hand, it was a typical annoyance that happens once a flight gets airborne: A passenger hit the recline button and sent his seat intimately close to the lap of the guy sitting behind him. What followed wasn't typical at all: a smack to the head, peacemakers diving about the cabin to intervene and a pair of Air Force F-16 fighter jets scrambling into the night skies over Washington.
  4. ^ "A bus-only brouhaha: Bus-only lanes for Wilshire Boulevard are the latest casualty of the political wars over transit policy in L.A." Los Angeles Times. February 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-13. Ever wonder why L.A.'s public transit system seems haphazard, with rail lines that don't go where they're most needed and inadequate bus service? A political battle over bus-only lanes on Wilshire Boulevard serves as an instructive example of the ways the best-designed plans of transit engineers are often thwarted.

External links[edit]

  • (in English) The dictionary definition of brouhaha at Wiktionary
  • (in French) The dictionary definition of brouhaha at Wiktionary