One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounNew England, United States Regional
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in William Tappan Thompson (1812–1882). Origin uncertain; a derivation from Bally-, a frequent first element of place-names in Ireland + hack, variant of heck [interjection], has been suggested, but neither the relative chronology of attestation nor the forms of heck [interjection] appear to support this suggestion. There is a village named Ballyhack in Co. Wexford, Ireland, but the connection, if any, is unclear.
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