humbug

noun
hum·bug | \ˈhəm-ˌbəg \

Definition of humbug 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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 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 \ 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

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 No Star Wars has ever made a better case for the Force than this film, which finally mends the damage done by the midi-chlorian humbug introduced in the disastrous prequel films. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Reviews of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' roll in (with and without spoilers)," 14 Dec. 2017 No Star Wars has ever made a better case for the Force than this film, which finally mends the damage done by the midi-chlorian humbug introduced in the disastrous prequel films. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Reviews of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' roll in (with and without spoilers)," 14 Dec. 2017 No Star Wars has ever made a better case for the Force than this film, which finally mends the damage done by the midi-chlorian humbug introduced in the disastrous prequel films. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Reviews of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' roll in (with and without spoilers)," 14 Dec. 2017 Admittedly, the story line is a little confusing, but the kid is super cute, so bah humbug to the haters! 13. Ruth Kinane, PEOPLE.com, "The 26 Best Holiday Commercials of 2017," 23 Dec. 2017 No Star Wars has ever made a better case for the Force than this film, which finally mends the damage done by the midi-chlorian humbug introduced in the disastrous prequel films. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Reviews of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' roll in (with and without spoilers)," 14 Dec. 2017 Although some might think Allardyce is the closest resemblance to Santa Claus in appearance, his bah-humbug attitude towards Christmas has shone through after cancelling Everton's festive party. SI.com, "Ho Ho Ho: Fans Pick Which Premier League Manager Would Make the Best Father Christmas," 13 Dec. 2017 No Star Wars has ever made a better case for the Force than this film, which finally mends the damage done by the midi-chlorian humbug introduced in the disastrous prequel films. Richard Lawson, HWD, "The Last Jedi Review: The Force Is Especially Strong in This One," 12 Dec. 2017

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

1751, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for humbug

Noun

origin unknown

Verb

see humbug entry 1

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Statistics for humbug

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Time Traveler for humbug

The first known use of humbug was in 1750

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More Definitions for humbug

humbug

noun

English Language Learners Definition of humbug

: 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

noun
hum·bug | \ˈhəm-ˌbəg \

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

2 : nonsense

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