: to expose the sham or falseness of
At the premiere of their new movie, the actor and actress addressed the media to debunk the rumor that they were dating.
"Illusionists and comedians Penn and Teller have made a career out of pulling back the curtain, whether to reveal the methods magicians employ in their tricks or to debunk pseudoscientific claptrap on their former television series." - From a movie review by Marc Mohan in The Oregonian (Portland) , March 7, 2014
Did You Know?
If you guessed that "debunk" has something to do with "bunk," meaning "nonsense," you're correct. We started using "bunk" at the beginning of the 20th century. (It derived, via "bunkum," from a remark made by a congressman from Buncombe county, North Carolina.) A little less than 25 years later, "debunk" was first used in print for the act of taking the "bunk" out of something. There are plenty of synonyms for "debunk," including "disprove," "rebut," "refute," and the somewhat rarer "confute." Even "falsify" can mean "prove something false," in addition to "make something false." "Debunk" itself often suggests that something is not merely untrue, but also a sham; one can simply disprove a myth, but if it is "debunked," the implication is that it was a grossly exaggerated or foolish claim.
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