Word of the DayThursday, May 29, 2014
\HOH-kuhm\ , noun;
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.
But American campaign biographies still follow a script written nearly two centuries ago. East of piffle and west of hokum, the Boy from Hope always grows up to be the Man of the People.
-- Jill Lepore, "Bound for Glory," The New Yorker, 2008
Probably nowhere else do the popular playmakers of Broadway reveal their imaginative shortcomings so clearly as in the employment of what is known colloquially as hokum.
-- George Jean Nathan, Comedians All, 1919
Hokum emerged as theater slang in the US in the early 1900s and is thought to be a blend of hocus-pocus and bunkum.
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