One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Deceptive or false talk or behavior.‘his comments are sheer humbug’
hypocrisy, hypocritical behaviour, hypocritical talk, sanctimoniousness, posturing, cant, empty talkView synonyms
- ‘He said: ‘It's definitely a case of humbug on the council's part.’’
- ‘I can see in their teachings nothing but humbug, untainted by any trace of truth.’
- ‘It would be humbug to pretend that authors at literary festivals have their minds on higher things than selling books.’
- ‘This obesity debate is full of humbug and denial.’
- ‘Some environmentalists agree, but many of us think it's dangerous humbug.’
- 1.1 A hypocrite.‘you see what a humbug I am’
hypocrite, hypocritical person, plaster saint, whited sepulchreView synonyms
- ‘From most of the preachers and all the humbugs they expect nothing else.’
- ‘He shows no signs of worry that the company he keeps may mark him as a stonking humbug.’
- ‘Our mean-minded monarchists really are a bunch of humourless humbugs.’
- ‘Is he a journalist for whom the principles of his profession override everything else, or is he a complete humbug who has lied to protect a source of information for a story which led to him winning an award for journalism?’
2British A hard candy, especially one flavored with peppermint.
- ‘The best buys include coffee beans, chocolate, mint humbugs and, of course, clotted cream shortbread.’
- ‘As part of her enterprise she shipped nostalgic English confection like humbugs and aniseed balls, to Navy men, tossing on the high seas.’
- ‘Aniseed balls originated as digestifs; humbugs developed from medieval cold cures; liquorice was thought good for coughs.’
- ‘With coffee and humbugs, lunch tends to drift well into tea-time.’
- ‘Pulled candy can be made from a plain sugar syrup, as in humbugs.’
1Deceive; trick.‘to humbug his humble neighbors was not difficult’
deceive, trick, delude, mislead, fool, hoodwink, dupe, hoax, take in, beguile, bamboozle, gull, cheatView synonyms
- ‘Bad information and bad guesses occasionally humbugged both, which they overcame by determination and the fighting qualities of their forces.’
- 1.1dated no object Act like a fraud or sham.
Mid 18th century (in the senses ‘hoax, trick’ and ‘deceiver’): of unknown origin.
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