Definition of bunkum
: insincere or foolish talk : nonsense
bunkum was our Word of the Day on 07/05/2015. Hear the podcast!
Examples of bunkum in a sentence
What a load of bunkum!
a cinematic depiction of the Middle Ages that was derided as pure bunkum by historians
Did You Know?
Some words in our language have more colorful histories than others, but in the case of bunkum, you could almost say it was an act of Congress that brought the word into being. Back in 1820 Felix Walker, who represented Buncombe County, North Carolina, in the U.S. House of Representatives, was determined that his voice be heard on his constituents' behalf, even though the matter up for debate was irrelevant to Walker's district and he had little to contribute. To the exasperation of his colleagues, Walker insisted on delivering a long and wearisome "speech for Buncombe." His persistent-if insignificant-harangue made buncombe (later respelled bunkum) a synonym for meaningless political claptrap and later for any kind of nonsense.
Origin and Etymology of bunkum
Buncombe county, North Carolina; from a remark made by its congressman, who defended an irrelevant speech by claiming that he was speaking to Buncombe
First Known Use: 1838
BUNKUM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of bunkum for English Language Learners
: foolish or untrue words or ideas
Seen and Heard
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