Kerfuffle vs brouhaha

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kerfuffle is something that causes disruption or change in atmosphere, especially in public. Notice only one l, the word is not kerfluffle. It originated outside the United States, but is understood within. The plural is kerfuffles.

The word comes from the Scot term carfuffle.

brouhaha, pronounced (brew ha ha), is the emotion or reaction of excitement surrounding an event or issue. Good synonyms are uproar and hubbub. The plural is brouhahas.

The word comes directly from French. It was a phrase used in drama pieces, usually by the actor playing the devil.

In general, though any distinction at all is debatable, a brouhaha is larger or more involved than a kerfuffle.


Like so many controversies over campus speakers, events, or even freelance writing by professors, the University of Michigan’s “American Sniper” kerfuffle is both a symptom of and a distraction from larger questions about campus climates and students’ sense of themselves and their environments. [The Washington Post]

This is where the Land League comes in, AKA Gerry Beades and the Vincent Brown kerfuffles outside the O’Donnell residence. [Irish Examiner]

Many chest physicians like me were aghast after seeing the brouhaha over the so-called ‘swine flu’ in the past couple of months. [DNA India]

Power went on to become Justice Minister with responsibility for prisons and promptly decided he didn’t want a public inquiry after all, and the Opposition would just have to find its own chocolate-sundae brouhahas. [The Daily Telegraph]