Please pass the humbug! Or just consider the word

Please pass the humbug! Or just consider the word

I went to my usual Webster's Dictionary when I heard the month's first mention of the word humbug. No comment on whether I was talking to myself.

Webster's defines humbug as: "1. a) something made or done to cheat or deceive; fraud; sham; hoax b) misleading, dishonest or empty talk 2.  a dishonest person; a person who does not live up to his claims; an impostor 3. a spirit of trickery, deception."

Well, those are all valuable words, worth defending (and using) this year. But on the way to finding those definitions, I found a fresher (if naughtier-sounding) word, humbugger. That's "one who humbugs," says Webster's.

But something was still missing. I remembered a TV movie in which a character offered another one "a humbug." I knew it was a British movie, so I checked There it was: "A boiled sweet, especially one flavoured (sic) with peppermint."

A sample sentence suggests that humbugs of the peppermint variety developed from cold cures. Considering how successful many such "cures" are, maybe that led to the cheating, dishonest, hoax definitions.

What's that? You don't agree? Bah... .




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  • Great post--thank you! Star-Lite Mints, a medicine for melancholy?

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    You're welcome. I've always found them a good medicine for melancholy, more so than for throat trouble.

  • I didn't take Scrooge's use of the term in that manner, unless he was saying that the holiday season was a con, in addition to worthless.

  • In reply to jack:

    I thought Scrooge was saying "misleading or empty," to begin with.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Empty, I can see.
    Looking over to the right pane, Humbug on Dennis Byrne, in any of the senses.

  • In reply to jack:

    Any of the senses? I didn't know Dennis had taken up writing about candy!

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