1

humbug

play
noun hum·bug \ˈhəm-ˌbəg\

Definition of humbug

  1. 1a :  something designed to deceive and mislead Their claims are humbug. She's only 30? Humbug!b :  a willfully false, deceptive, or insincere person He's just an old humbug. denounced as humbugs the playwrights who magnify the difficulties of their craft — Times Literary Supplement

  2. 2 :  an attitude or spirit of pretense and deception in all his humbug, in all his malice and hollowness — Mary Lindsay

  3. 3 :  nonsense, drivel academic humbug

  4. 4 British :  a hard usually peppermint-flavored candy

humbuggery

play \ˈhəm-ˌbə-g(ə-)rē\ noun

Examples of humbug in a sentence

  1. tests showed that the old map of America was a cleverly made humbug

  2. those UFO stories are a lot of humbug

Origin and Etymology of humbug

origin unknown


First Known Use: 1750

Synonym Discussion of humbug

imposture, fraud, sham, fake, humbug, counterfeit mean a thing made to seem other than it is. imposture applies to any situation in which a spurious object or performance is passed off as genuine their claim of environmental concern is an imposture. fraud usually implies a deliberate perversion of the truth the diary was exposed as a fraud. sham applies to fraudulent imitation of a real thing or action condemned the election as a sham. fake implies an imitation of or substitution for the genuine but does not necessarily imply dishonesty these jewels are fakes; the real ones are in the vault. humbug suggests elaborate pretense usually so flagrant as to be transparent creating publicity by foisting humbugs on a gullible public. counterfeit applies especially to the close imitation of something valuable 20-dollar bills that were counterfeits.

2

humbug

verb hum·bug

Definition of humbug

humbugged

;

humbugging

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  deceive, hoax humbugged by their doctors — G. B. Shaw

  3. intransitive verb
  4. :  to engage in a hoax or deception

Examples of humbug in a sentence

  1. humbugged into believing that the bones were the skeleton of a prehistoric human being

Origin and Etymology of humbug

see 1humbug


First Known Use: 1751


HUMBUG Defined for English Language Learners

1

humbug

play
noun hum·bug \ˈhəm-ˌbəg\

Definition of humbug for English Language Learners

  • : language or behavior that is false or meant to deceive people

  • : someone or something that is not honest or true

  • : a hard peppermint candy


HUMBUG Defined for Kids

humbug

play
noun hum·bug \ˈhəm-ˌbəg\

Definition of humbug for Students

  1. 1 :  fraud 3 “… the Wonderful Wizard of Oz was nothing more than a humbug!” — L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz

  2. 2 :  nonsense



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up humbug? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a favoring of the simplest explanation

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • manet-jeanne-spring
  • Which is a synonym of chaffer?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ