The title illustration from the first edition of Troy Town by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, in which pillaloo is shouted.
The Oxford English Dictionary tells us pillaloo began its life centuries ago as a hunting cry. Among its appearances was that in 1888 in The Astonishing History of Troy Town by Q (Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch), though you might have some difficulty picking the sense out of his representation of the local speech:
An’ the wust was, that what wi’ the rumpus an’ her singin’ out “Pillaloo!” an’ how the devil was amongst mun, havin’ great wrath, the Lawyer’s sarmon about a “wecked an’ ’dulterous generation seekin’ arter a sign” was clean sp’iled.
Henry Murray’s usage in Lands of the Slave and the Free of 1857 is very much easier on the modern eye and ear:
The dialogue was brought to a sudden stop by the frantic yell of the juvenile pledge of their affections, whose years had not yet reached two figures; a compact little iron-bound box had fallen on his toe, and the poor little urchin’s pilliloo, pilliloo, was pitiful.
Page created 19 May 2007
Support World Wide Words and keep this site alive.
Donate by selecting your currency and clicking the button.
Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select a site and click Go!