Wives bid their husbands adieu as the army marched out to battle. Soon after, without much ado, the soldiers gathered into formation and unsheathed their swords.

Ado and adieu are one of the most frequently used words in verbal language. It may be surprising to know that despite conspicuously different spellings, the words are homophones and are thus, pronounced similarly.

Ado is a contraction of the Middle English phrase ‘at do’ meaning unnecessary trouble. Hence, ado means unwarranted annoyance, trouble, or troublesome activity. It often follows a preposition for instance after much ado meaning ‘after much trouble or fuss’.

As is evident from the uncanny placement of three vowels in a row, adieu is French and translates to ‘farewell’ or ‘goodbye’. Owing to the similarity in pronunciation of these words, they are often misspelled in writing. In fact, the phrase ‘without further adieu’ is one of the commonest incorrect phrases written. The actual word to belong in the phrase is ‘ado’; collectively meaning ‘without any further trouble’. It is typically used by hosts and auctioneers after a brief introduction of a person or item respectively. So, without further ado, let us move on to the details of this linguistic matter!

Ado vs adieu – definition, uses, and examples

Definition of ado

Ado is pronounced ‘uh-doo’. It is a noun and refers to any annoyance, fuss, trouble, or unpleasant business especially one that is unnecessary and can be avoided. It is defined as any unnecessary inconvenience or unpleasantness of trivial nature or minor importance. For example, to make ado means to raise trouble or fuss about something small like a baby does when it is not fed on time. Words synonymous with ado include trouble and fuss. Ado is an uncountable noun and thus cannot be quantified, much like trouble; so when someone makes ado, you cannot count the trouble he is making.

Example sentences of ado

  • You will marry the boy I ask you to marry without making much ado about the matter,the King scolded his daughter.

In this sentence, ado is used as a noun and is used in the meaning of ‘fuss or tantrum’. The King is scolding her daughter not to make a fuss regarding the matter of marriage and accepts his decision as final.

  • I find writing researches and dissertations rather dull; there is much ado in citing every sentence before you write it.

In the sentence above, academic writing is termed dull because of the frequency of citations. Ado is used in the meaning of ‘unnecessary inconvenience’ as encountered in academic writing.

  • So without further ado, I would like to begin the auction with this brilliant piece of antique typewriter, said the auctioneer.

‘Without further ado’ is a common phrase used before the main event and after the preliminary introduction of the event. In this sentence, it is implied by the phrase ‘without further ado’ that the auctioneer has delivered the introductory monologue, which can be mildly inconvenient for anyone waiting for the auction to start.

Definition of adieu

Adieu is pronounced ‘a-dyoo’. It is a noun but it is also commonly used as an interjection. Adieu is a parting wish in French that has been popularized in English; much like adios from Spanish or aloha from Hawaiian. It translates to ‘farewell’ or ‘goodbye’ and is used as a loving blessing or a boon said upon parting or at departure especially in a lasting and indefinite way. It differs from Au Revoir of the same language as the latter refers to an impermanent goodbye or ‘goodbye until we meet again’ as opposed to Adieu which has a sense of finality to it. Synonyms of ‘adieu’ in English include farewell, goodbye, and Godspeed. Adieu is a countable noun and the plural of adieu is ‘adieux’.

Example sentences of adieu

  • The banker who was convicted on charges of corruption can bid his million-dollar estate adieu as it will all be seized by the government soon.

Here, adieu is used in a figurative sense as the banker can say goodbye to his wealth because it will be permanently impounded and he will never be able to get it back.

  • Thousands of fathers bid adieu to their daughters before sending them across the border during the partition of India.

In the sentence above, adieu is used in the usual way of wishing farewell as neither the fathers nor the daughters knew if they would be able to see each other again.

  • Romeo bid her a hundred adieux but his heart remained unwilling to part with her beloved.

The plural of adieu is used in this sentence in the general sense of wishing goodbye.


Ado and adieu are different words with similar sounds but distinct origins. Both words are nouns but adieu is sometimes used as an interjection. Ado refers to any sort of minor trouble that can be avoided. Distinctly, adieu is a French word that translates to ‘farewell’.

In order to remember the correct meaning for each word, link the ‘do’ in ado with work as in doing work. As work can sometimes be troubling, heed that ado refers to unwarranted trouble. Adieu can be remembered by the three consecutive vowels it possesses. Remember that the French language and pronunciation are profuse in vowels to remember that adieu belongs to French. And what do we say to the French language after it has caused so much confusion for us? Adieu!