Trend Watch

Malarkey

When:

Lookups spiked on October 11, 2012.

Why:

Vice President Joe Biden used the word malarkey several times during the vice-presidential debate with Congressman Paul Ryan.

Malarkey means "insincere or foolish talk" or "nonsense."

Biden and Ryan share an Irish heritage, and malarkey is associated with Irish-American English. The word's true origins are not clear, however: the word resembles an Irish last name (sometimes spelled Mullarkey) but could have come from a similar-sounding Greek word or even Irish slang. One thing is certain: the word was used first in America, not Ireland.

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
March 28, 2015
persiflage Hear it
Frivolous bantering talk
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears