HUMBUG , an imposture, sham,
See also:fraud . The word seems to have been originally applied to a
See also:trick or hoax, and appears as a
See also:term about 1750 . According to the New
See also:Dictionary, Ferdinando Killigrew's The Universal
See also:Jester, which contains the word in its sub-title " a choice collection of many conceits .. . bonmots and humbugs," was published in 1754, not, as is often stated, in 1735-1740 . The
See also:principal passage in reference to the introduction of the word occurs in The Student, 1750-1751, ii . 41, where it is called " a word very much in vogue with the
See also:people of taste and fashion." The origin appears to have been unknown at that date .
See also:Skeat connects it (Etym .
See also:Diet . 1898) with " hum," to murmur applause, hence flatter, trick, cajole, and "
See also:bug," bogey, spectre, the word thus meaning a false alarm . Many fanciful conjectures have been made, e.g. from Irish uim-bog, soft copper, worthless as opposed to sterling
See also:money; from "
See also:Hamburg," as the centre from which false coins came into England during the
See also:wars; and from the
See also:Italian uomo bugiardo, lying man .
KARL WILHELM VON HUMBOLDT (1767-1835)
ALEXANDER HUME (c. 1557-1609)
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