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humbug

[huhm-buhg] /ˈhʌmˌbʌg/
noun
1.
something intended to delude or deceive.
2.
the quality of falseness or deception.
3.
a person who is not what he or she claims or pretends to be; impostor.
4.
something devoid of sense or meaning; nonsense:
a humbug of technical jargon.
5.
British. a variety of hard mint candy.
verb (used with object), humbugged, humbugging.
6.
to impose upon by humbug or false pretense; delude; deceive.
verb (used without object), humbugged, humbugging.
7.
to practice humbug.
interjection
8.
(used as an expletive to express rejection of something as being completely untrue or nonsensical.)
Origin of humbug
1730-1740
1730-40; origin uncertain
Related forms
humbugger, noun
Synonyms
1. imposition. 2. pretense, sham. 3. pretender, deceiver, charlatan, swindler, quack, confidence man. 6. cheat, swindle, trick, fool, dupe.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for humbug
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I like him so much—and he's such a humbug, and I don't think he knows that he's in the least a humbug.

    Quisant Anthony Hope
  • Well, what does that matter, you humbug, when Law is going to make millions for us?

    The Conspirators Alexandre Dumas (Pere)
  • Elisabeth spoke severely; she was always merciless upon anything in the shape of humbug or snobbery.

    The Farringdons Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler
  • They're like everything else sold by curio dealers—all humbug.

    Humorous Ghost Stories Dorothy Scarborough
  • Don't try and humbug me, or I'll——In God's name, tell me everything.

    Nevermore Rolf Boldrewood
  • In a narrow sense of the word he is a “humbug:” in the larger acceptation he is not.

  • Sir James particularly watched Fullerton, and at last he said to himself, "That fellow's no humbug."

    A Dream of the North Sea James Runciman
  • But need I explain to my own beloved countrymen that there is humbug in politics?

  • So ignorance, and humbug mark every step of this foremost among the pilots of a noble, high-minded, but too confiding people.

British Dictionary definitions for humbug

humbug

/ˈhʌmˌbʌɡ/
noun
1.
a person or thing that tricks or deceives
2.
nonsense; rubbish
3.
(Brit) a hard boiled sweet, usually flavoured with peppermint and often having a striped pattern
verb -bugs, -bugging, -bugged
4.
to cheat or deceive (someone)
Derived Forms
humbugger, noun
humbuggery, noun
Word Origin
C18: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for humbug
n.

1751, student slang, "trick, jest, hoax, deception," also as a verb, of unknown origin. A vogue word of the early 1750s; its origin was a subject of much whimsical speculation even then.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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