First Word of July 2005


Maytag "Danged Agitator"
bunkum • \BUNG-kum\ • noun
: insincere or foolish talk : nonsense

Example sentence:
Vincent thought he had given strong arguments in support of his theory, but Professor Lyons dismissed it as bunkum nonetheless.

Did you know?
Some words in our language have more colorful histories than others, but in the case of "bunkum," you could almost say it was an act of Congress that brought the word into being. Back in 1820 Felix Walker, who represented Buncombe County, North Carolina, in the U.S. House of Representatives, was determined that his voice be heard on his constituents' behalf, even though the matter up for debate was irrelevant to Walker's district and he had little to contribute. To the exasperation of his colleagues, Walker insisted on delivering a long and wearisome "speech for Buncombe." His persistent—if insignificant—harangue made "buncombe" (later respelled "bunkum") a synonym for meaningless political claptrap and later for any kind of nonsense.

Merriam-Webster Online