December 24, 2011
humbug (noun)
\HUM-bug\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : a false or deceiving person or thing : fraud2 : foolish or meaningless words or actions : drivel
How do you use it?
Kiya's parents have handled ancient artifacts in the museum for many years and consider stories about the mummy's curse to be just a lot of humbug.
Are you a word wiz?

Which one of these words do you think is a genuine synonym of "humbug"?

You weren't deceived if you picked A. "Humbug" is one of several words that mean a thing made to seem other than what it is. It suggests a pretense so obvious that almost anyone can see through it (as in, "a speech full of humbug"), while "counterfeit" applies to the close imitation of something valuable (such as, "twenty-dollar bills that were counterfeits"). "Fake" implies an imitation of or substitution for something that is genuine, but not necessarily involving dishonesty (for example, "admitted her jewels were fakes"). "Sham," however, includes an element of fraud in the imitation of a real thing or action (as in, "charged that election was a sham").
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