That Don’t Ballyhoo Me Much

May 13, 2020

I love the phrase “much ballyhooed”: I even used it as my Twitter bio for a while. Does anyone ever use any word besides “much” before “ballyhooed”? Has anything ever been described as “occasionally ballyhooed”?

To find out, I turned to a “trigrams” dataset that Google makes available on BigQuery. The provenance of this dataset is unclear, and documentation is lacking - this post from 2012 is the only explanation I’ve found of what the dataset is and how to query it. But you can still query it! Like so:

lower(`first`) as w0, 
lower(`second`) as w1,
lower(`third`) as w2,
sum(c.volume_count) as occurrences
  `publicdata.samples.trigrams`, unnest(cell) as c
lower(`third`) = 'ballyhooed'
OR lower(`second`) = 'ballyhooed'
group by 1, 2, 3
order by sum(c.volume_count) desc;

So, is anything ever ballyhooed less than “much”? According to the dataset, doesn’t look like it:

Row w0 w1 w2 occurrences
1 much - ballyhooed 229
2 the much ballyhooed 111