Origin of humbug

First recorded in 1730–40; origin uncertain
Related formshum·bug·ger, noun

Synonyms for humbug

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for humbug



a person or thing that tricks or deceives
nonsense; rubbish
British a hard boiled sweet, usually flavoured with peppermint and often having a striped pattern

verb -bugs, -bugging or -bugged

to cheat or deceive (someone)
Derived Formshumbugger, nounhumbuggery, noun

Word Origin for humbug

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

Word Origin and History for humbug

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