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Definition: nonsense, unrelated, irrelevant talk

Pronunciation: BAN(g)-kum


1841, Buncombe County, North Carolina.

Why this word?

The world of politics is known as a great generator of awesome slang, drawing on the silly representatives we choose every now and then (bumbledom would be a great example).

According to the story, during the 1820’s Missouri statehood debates, the representative Felix Walker began with what he promised to be a “long, dull and irrelevant speech”, and so it was. No matter who cried for him to stop, he continued dealing with issues having to do with his relatively small county rather than the House of Representatives.

Ever since, people who speak of things unrelated to whatever it is that’s going on, are speaking bunkum.

How to use the word bunkum in a sentence?

You: “What should we do this evening?”

Your friend: “I came across this great book on the history of rattle snakes and…”

You: That’s cool, but what’s the plan for the evening”?

Your friend: “I’m not talking about this evening, but about millions of years ago when the first rattle snake emerged from the ocean…….”

You: *snore* “Enough with this bunkum”!


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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.


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