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[hoh-kuh m] /ˈhoʊ kəm/
out-and-out nonsense; bunkum.
elements of low comedy introduced into a play, novel, etc., for the laughs they may bring.
sentimental matter of an elementary or stereotyped kind introduced into a play or the like.
false or irrelevant material introduced into a speech, essay, etc., in order to arouse interest, excitement, or amusement.
Origin of hokum
1915-20, Americanism; probably blend of hocus-pocus and bunkum Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hokum
  • Mailer's obituaries tended to settle for the nil nisi hokum note.
  • Such miracles, in this day and age, bespeak a hokum beyond the reach of art.
  • What makes this hokum work as entertainment is the series' unquestioned belief in basic human benignity.
  • It may be a piece of well-polished hokum in plot, but it possesses a certain refreshing levity that makes it a good entertainment.
  • Much of it was probably hokum cooked up by paranoids and far-right crazies.
  • And if you doubt that folks believed such hokum, there is ample testimony to the contrary.
British Dictionary definitions for hokum


noun (slang)
claptrap; bunk
obvious or hackneyed material of a sentimental nature in a play, film, etc
Word Origin
C20: probably a blend of hocus-pocus and bunkum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hokum

1917, theater slang, "melodramatic, exaggerated acting," probably formed on model of bunkum (see bunk (2)), and perhaps influenced by or based on hocus-pocus.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for hokum


  1. Pretentious nonsense; inane trash; bunk: more hokum from the Department of State
  2. A trick, gag, routine, etc, sure to please a gullible public: There is some hokum in ''King Penguin'' (Theater)
  3. hokey-pokey

[1917+; origin unknown; perhaps a blend of hocus-pocus and bunkum]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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