One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
no object To cry pillaloo; to moan, howl.
Expressing distress, sorrow, or grief: ‘oh!’, ‘alas!’, ‘woe!’, etc.
An utterance of ‘pillaloo’; a cry of distress, a howl. Hence: an outcry, a noisy disturbance or altercation; uproar.
Mid 19th century. From pillaloo<br>mid 17th century; earliest use found in Richard Head (?1637–?1686), writer. From Irish puilliliú, puillilliú, fuililiú, etc. (interjection and noun) a hunting cry, clamour, also (now rare) shout of distress, of imitative origin.
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