ho·​kum | \ˈhō-kəm \

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

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 The film has a lot going for it, alongside a certain amount of hokum. Michael Phillips, Detroit Free Press, "Review: ‘The Post’ is both inspired and hokey," 11 Jan. 2018 Returning writers/directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore spring for enough offensive fun to keep the audience giggling between the Christmas hokum. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Review: 'A Bad Moms Christmas' is big on holiday schmaltz, short on fun fruitcakes," 1 Nov. 2017 This is hokum, a product of a morbidly amusing photo taken of Dillinger while his body was on display at the Chicago morgue. Neal Taflinger, Indianapolis Star, "Debunking the myths surrounding John Dillinger, Indiana's most wanted man," 31 Aug. 2017 When the pre-show finally began, so did the hokum that would define the rest of the night. Aisha Harris, Slate Magazine, "Springtime for the Confederacy," 24 Aug. 2017 This business of saving for future generations is hokum and has become a platitudinous, self-righteous argument legislators use to further their own agendas. Alaska Dispatch News, "Readers write: Letters to the editor, June 29, 2017," 29 June 2017 A biting satire attacking the ignorance which provides oxygen for this hokum -- and the tragedy that can result from it -- the BAFTA nominee and Cinefondation alumni is not pulling her punches. Thomas Page, CNN, "'I Am Not A Witch': Film explores plight of Zambians accused of witchcraft," 29 May 2017

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

The first known use of hokum was in 1908

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English Language Learners Definition of hokum

: foolish or untrue words or ideas

: writing, music, etc., that is too dramatic or sentimental and not very original

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a private place of worship

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