humbug

noun
hum·​bug | \ ˈhəm-ˌbəg How to pronounce humbug (audio) \

Definition of humbug

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : something designed to deceive and mislead Their claims are 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 craftTimes Literary Supplement
2 : an attitude or spirit of pretense and deception in all his humbug, in all his malice and hollowness— Mary Lindsay
3 : nonsense, drivel academic humbug
4 British : a hard usually peppermint-flavored candy

humbug

verb
humbugged; humbugging

Definition of humbug (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: deceive, hoax humbugged by their doctors— G. B. Shaw

intransitive verb

: to engage in a hoax or deception

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Other Words from humbug

Noun

humbuggery \ ˈhəm-​ˌbə-​g(ə-​)rē How to pronounce humbuggery (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for humbug

Noun

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

Examples of humbug in a Sentence

Noun tests showed that the “old” map of America was a cleverly made humbug those UFO stories are a lot of humbug Verb humbugged into believing that the bones were the skeleton of a prehistoric human being
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Like many American holidays, it is now encrusted with humbug and commercialism. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "The Real History of Cinco de Mayo," 5 May 2020 As the story goes, he is visited by a trio of Christmas ghosts (whom Scrooge accuses of being humbugs). Elizabeth Wolfe And Douglas S. Wood, CNN, "Humbug! Where does that word come from anyway?," 21 Dec. 2019 Heroic detective, pilot, poet, magician and victor over all bullies and humbugs, animal or human, Freddy remains a model to us all. New York Times, "Adam Hochschild Says Books Can Change the World. He Has Proof.," 12 Mar. 2020 Merriam-Webster defines a humbug as something or someone that is false or deceptive. Elizabeth Wolfe And Douglas S. Wood, CNN, "Humbug! Where does that word come from anyway?," 21 Dec. 2019 Like every state, Colorado has its folklore, hoaxes, tall tales and humbugs. Tom Noel, The Know, "16 strange, spooky and (mostly) true Colorado stories to tell around a campfire," 24 Aug. 2019 The commercial web steams on as a hopped-up, strung-out system of hyperlinks, engineered to mix Barnumesque humbug with authentic reports, and to overlap ads and news—the better to sucker the eye. Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, "The Truth-Affirming Powers of a Good, Old-Fashioned Netflix Binge," 23 May 2018 This was familiar big-corporation humbug, custom-built to obscure the real issues. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: If a $5-billion fine won’t shake Facebook, what can bring it to heel?," 18 July 2019 The commercial web steams on as a hopped-up, strung-out system of hyperlinks, engineered to mix Barnumesque humbug with authentic reports, and to overlap ads and news—the better to sucker the eye. Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, "The Truth-Affirming Powers of a Good, Old-Fashioned Netflix Binge," 23 May 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In its verb form, to be humbugged is to be deceived or be the victim of a hoax. Elizabeth Wolfe And Douglas S. Wood, CNN, "Humbug! Where does that word come from anyway?," 21 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'humbug.' 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 humbug

Noun

1750, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1749, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for humbug

Noun and Verb

origin unknown

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Time Traveler for humbug

Time Traveler

The first known use of humbug was in 1749

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Statistics for humbug

Cite this Entry

“Humbug.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/humbug. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for humbug

humbug

noun
How to pronounce humbug (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of humbug

: language or behavior that is false or meant to deceive people
old-fashioned : someone or something that is not honest or true
British : a hard peppermint candy

humbug

noun
hum·​bug | \ ˈhəm-ˌbəg How to pronounce humbug (audio) \

Kids Definition of humbug

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

More from Merriam-Webster on humbug

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for humbug

Nglish: Translation of humbug for Spanish Speakers

Comments on humbug

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