ho·​kum | \ ˈhō-kəm How to pronounce hokum (audio) \

Definition of hokum

1 : a device used (as by showmen) to evoke a desired audience response
2 : pretentious nonsense : bunkum

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Examples of hokum in a Sentence

Everyone knows his story is pure hokum. His new film is yet another piece of Hollywood hokum.
Recent Examples on the Web Yet the American space-industrial complex is sustained by Hollywood hokum. David Beers, The New Republic, "Selling the American Space Dream," 7 Dec. 2020 Downtrodden Democrats will need to come to grips with the reality that vast swaths of the country like or, at least, accept the hokum and hatred that Trump has been peddling. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "There Will Be No Emphatic Rejection of Trump," 3 Nov. 2020 This isn’t some kind of health food store hippie hokum. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, "How to Prepare for a COVID-19 Quarantine," 13 Mar. 2020 The College Football Playoff is pure hokum, but at least its nonsense is hysterical at the same time. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, "What a laugher: College Football Playoff committee has a sense of humor," 13 Nov. 2019 The story of Abner Doubleday inventing baseball in Cooperstown has long been dismissed as hokum. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "The First Recorded Game of Baseball Was Played…in England?," 24 June 2019 By neatly interweaving the lives and works of his four subjects, Mr. Nevala-Lee shows that SF navigates a narrow course between the Scylla of scientific rationality and the Charybdis of fantastic hokum. Michael Saler, WSJ, "It Came From the Future," 18 Oct. 2018 Into this world of darkness and folk hokum, in 1635, was born Francis Willughby. David Holahan, The Christian Science Monitor, "'The Wonderful Mr. Willughby' profiles a pioneer of ornithology and early scientist," 12 July 2018 His teachings were simplistic, filled with hokum, like a 15-year-old's diary entry. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "The story of the 15-year-old guru who came to the Astrodome to save the world," 12 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hokum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hokum

1908, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hokum

probably blend of hocus-pocus and bunkum

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Time Traveler for hokum

Time Traveler

The first known use of hokum was in 1908

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Statistics for hokum

Last Updated

16 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hokum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hokum. Accessed 28 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for hokum


How to pronounce hokum (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hokum

chiefly US : foolish or untrue words or ideas
: writing, music, etc., that is too dramatic or sentimental and not very original

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