Other forms: humbugs; humbugging; humbugged

Humbug is language that's either deceptive or just ridiculous. Either way, it's verbal garbage and inspires people to mutter "Bah! Humbug!" — just like Scrooge did in A Christmas Carol.

Humbug is one of many words in English for language that can't be trusted. Humbug is like snake oil: it's deceptive, tricky, and meant to put one over on you. There's a slightly different type of humbug that refers to nonsense: speech or writing that's silly, pretentious, or just empty. When someone is talking a lot but saying nothing, they're talking humbug.

Definitions of humbug
  1. noun
    something intended to deceive; deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage
    synonyms: dupery, fraud, fraudulence, hoax, put-on
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    anything that is supposed to be valuable but turns out to be worthless
    type of:
    chicane, chicanery, guile, shenanigan, trickery, wile
    the use of tricks to deceive someone (usually to extract money from them)
  2. noun
    communication (written or spoken) intended to deceive
    synonyms: snake oil
    see moresee less
    type of:
    deceit, deception, misrepresentation
    a misleading falsehood
  3. noun
    pretentious or silly talk or writing
    synonyms: baloney, bilgewater, boloney, bosh, drool, taradiddle, tarradiddle, tommyrot, tosh, twaddle
    see moresee less
    type of:
    bunk, hokum, meaninglessness, nonsense, nonsensicality
    a message that seems to convey no meaning
  4. noun
    a person who is intentionally deceptive or insincere
    synonyms: fake, faker, fraud, imposter, impostor, pretender, pseud, pseudo, role player, sham, shammer
    see moresee less
    name dropper
    someone who pretends that famous people are his/her friends
    a contestant entered in a competition under false pretenses
    type of:
    beguiler, cheat, cheater, deceiver, slicker, trickster
    someone who leads you to believe something that is not true
  5. verb
    trick or deceive
    see moresee less
    type of:
    cozen, deceive, delude, lead on
    be false to; be dishonest with
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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘humbug'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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