Many have heard it from the classic Disney movie, Mary Poppins. I actually encountered the word first in a Sherlock Holmes case, “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton,” used when Holmes and Watson were burglarizing Mr. Milverton’s house. “…and one fellow raised a view-halloa as we emerged from the veranda and followed hard at our heels.” The word is “view halloa” or the more commonly spelled “view halloo.” Both spellings are found with dashes and without dashes.
So, what is a view halloo? Well, according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, view halloo is “used in fox hunting on seeing a fox break cover.” In other words, a view halloo is a sharp call used to alert the other members of the fox hunting party that a fox has been spotted. Its first known use was in 1761.
Another instance of the word is found in 221b, a poem by Vincent Starrett, which is about Sherlock Holmes, “But still the game’s afoot for those with ears, Attuned to catch the distant view-halloo…” And of course there’s the classic moment in Mary Poppins. (Which in my personal opinion, is the best moment of the entire movie. :))