Trend Watch

Brennan: Trump's Claims are 'Hogwash'

Searches jump 15,500% after op-ed


Hogwash ("nonsense, balderdash") spiked dramatically in lookups on August 16th, 2018, after former CIA Director John Brennan used the word in an editorial in The New York Times, dismissively applied to arguments put forth by President Trump.

Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash.
— John O. Brennan, The New York Times, 16 Aug. 2018

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Photo: Gabriel Cristóver Pérez

The word took on its "nonsense" meaning in the 19th century.

Hogwash has the charming ring of a rustic 19th-century American colloquialism (such as sockdologer), but in fact has been in English use since the 15th century. The original meaning of hogwash was "swill" (aka "a semiliquid food for animals (such as swine) composed of edible refuse mixed with water or skimmed or sour milk").

While hogwash may be found used in figurative fashion between the 16th and 18th centuries, it is generally held that the word took on its modern significance of "nonsense" in the 19th century.

How can we but kindle when we see you fray the people of God from the sweete & wholesom foode of their soules, and delude them with your huskes and hogwash?
— Thomas Bilson, The true difference betweene Christian subiection and unchristian rebellion, 1585

Those Democrats who oppose a platform like this are euphoniously characterized as "pulling, long-eared, cowardly, double-distilled quintessence of hog-wash idiots."
The Pittsburgh Daily Commercial, 10 Jun. 1875



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