Words at Play : A Thoughtful Guide to Words About Nonsense

#5: Bunkum

Definition:

: insincere or foolish talk; claptrap

Example:

"As it happens I believe this whipped-up paranoia is bunkum and that some kind of statutory underpinning is essential for any future press regulatory body." – Yasmin Alibhai Brown, The Independent (UK), November 25, 2012

About the Word:

Bunkum was born in American politics. In 1820, North Carolina Representative Felix Walker gave a particularly long and wearisome speech that contributed little to the matter at hand. The politician defended his speech on the grounds that he was speaking for the people in his county: Buncombe. The extended meaning – and the spelling bunkum – appeared not long after.

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