or bun·combe

[buhng-kuh m]


insincere speechmaking by a politician intended merely to please local constituents.
insincere talk; claptrap; humbug.

Origin of bunkum

Americanism; after speech in 16th Congress, 1819–21, by F. Walker, who said he was bound to speak for Buncombe (N.C. county in district he represented)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bunkum

Historical Examples of bunkum

  • That fifty dollars being put on for anybody else was bunkum.


    W. A. Fraser

  • “All bunkum and wind,” said he, pitching them into a corner.


    Talbot Baines Reed

  • It's for them that all these atrocities are invented—most of them bunkum.

    The Hero

    William Somerset Maugham

  • I suppose you will say next that I hypnotised her—or some bunkum of that sort!

    The Seven Secrets

    William Le Queux

  • Tall talk's his jewelry: he must have his dandification in bunkum.

British Dictionary definitions for bunkum




empty talk; nonsense
mainly US empty or insincere speechmaking by a politician to please voters or gain publicity

Word Origin for bunkum

C19: after Buncombe, a county in North Carolina, alluded to in an inane speech by its Congressional representative Felix Walker (about 1820)
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

Word Origin and History for bunkum

variant of Buncombe.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper