Ululate \UL-yuh-layt\ or \YOOL-yuh-layt\ , intransitive verb;
1. To howl, as a dog or a wolf; to wail
Ululation dates to the 1590's and comes from Latin ululationem, the nominative of uluatio ("a howling or wailing") from the past participle stem ululare ("ululate") which is a reduplicative* imitative base. Ululate dates to the 1620's and either comes from ululation or directly from Latin ululatus, the past participle of uluare.
*Reduplication is when a word or a portion of a word is doubled to indicate some sort of emphasis or pluralization.
Anyone else think ul- sounds onomatopoeic?
Today's word and the first definition were both taken from Dictionary.com's 'Word of the Day' for Thursday, February 17
Etymologies come from the Oxford English Dictionary and/or Etymonline.com