Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for September 9, 2020 is:
bunkum BUNG-kum noun
: insincere or foolish talk : nonsense
I hesitated to voice my opinions, fearful that my companions would deride my views as bunkum.
“Out on social media, people are reposting and retweeting and emailing myths, hurling them across the internet with the kind of speed attainable only by pure bunkum.” — Heather Yakin, The Times Herald-Record, 17 Mar. 2020
Did you know?
Some words in the English 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.