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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a to-do list (=a list of things you must do)
▪ Painting the bedroom is at the top of my to-do list.
▪ It caused quite a to-do when a mistake was made in the Labor Department statistics.
▪ Christmas has never been a big to-do in our house.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

To-do \To-do"\, n. [To + do. Cf. Ado.] Bustle; stir; commotion; ado. [Colloq.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1570s, from the verb phrase to do, from Old English to don "proper or necessary to be done" (see to + do). Meaning "disturbance, fuss" is first recorded 1827. Similar formation in French affaire, from à "to" + faire "do."


n. 1 (context archaic English) ado. 2 A task that has been noted as one that must be completed, especially on a list. 3 A fuss made over something, commotion.


n. a disorderly outburst or tumult; "they were amazed by the furious disturbance they had caused" [syn: disturbance, disruption, commotion, stir, flutter, hurly burly, hoo-ha, hoo-hah, kerfuffle]

Usage examples of "to-do".

Chavigni, who came to ask for dinner, and made a great to-do when he heard that my housekeeper dined in her room.

Well, it came out in evidence that Blore made a great to-do about being a cuckold.

Getting stuck in an elevator during a power outage was nowhere on her to-do list.

Louis, thus far unconsulted on the details, could only imagine the most basic components of the celebration to come but he did not doubt Ginger would greet him at the door waving an annotated and important To-Do list, one which he would pretend to read while Ginger affected to point out the most drastically imperative errands for him to attend to first.

Chavigni, who came to ask for dinner, and made a great to-do when he heard that my housekeeper dined in her room.

After spreading her out so, and making such a to-do over her affairs, it would be absolutely necessary to account to the reader for her.

Yet as much to-do is made about it as if it were a living legal principle.

Aye, but there was the pistol in my pocket, and the likelihood that those interfering bobbies would have wanted to know who I was, and what business I had there - God, what a to-do there would be if it was discovered that the celebrated Sir Harry Flashman was creeping about disguised as a scarecrow, with a shooting iron in his pocket, at the scene of an attempted murder!

Every Castle on this planet-always excepting those fool Smiths, and I don’t doubt they were up to something as wouldn’t bear the light of day or they’d of been in on it too-every Castle put on some kind of to-do for the `daughter of Brightwater’!

The secretary, programmed to be helpful, appended a to-do list as well.

When her alarm clock went off this morning, she found identical to-do lists taped to every wall and door in her apartment.

Minceman warning me of the fuss and to-do she had once when they would have had her go up two pair of stairs to a miserable apartment at the back of the house.