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Humbug   /hˈəmbˌəg/   Listen
Humbug

noun
1.
Pretentious or silly talk or writing.  Synonyms: baloney, bilgewater, boloney, bosh, drool, taradiddle, tarradiddle, tommyrot, tosh, twaddle.
2.
Communication (written or spoken) intended to deceive.  Synonym: snake oil.
3.
Something intended to deceive; deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage.  Synonyms: dupery, fraud, fraudulence, hoax, put-on.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Humbug" Quotes from Famous Books



... mean to tell me that that pastoral object, happily introduced on the roofs of houses, does not recall the green fields, daisies, babbling brooks, and cloudless skies of early boyhood? Humbug!" The speaker flattened his nose still more against the glass by way ...
— Round the Block • John Bell Bouton

... common sense, the voice of sad experience, the voice of Catholic bishops, and especially the voice of the Holy Father, is raised against, and condemns, the Public School system as a huge humbug, injuring, not promoting, personal virtue and good citizenship, and as being most pernicious to Catholic faith, and life, and all good morals. A pastor, therefore, cannot maintain the contrary opinion without ...
— Public School Education • Michael Mueller

... that the widow was a humbug, and Archie telegraphed back that he quite agreed with her. But the Professor, whom the momentary silence had brought back to the present century, looked up and asked Lucy if the ...
— The Green Mummy • Fergus Hume

... more astute among the people had certainly thought for a while that the cannon was a humbug, that it was useless either to royalist or to republican, in fact, that it would never go off at all. But these sceptics were cured of their infidelity at Thouars, when they saw the soldiers as well as the republicans of the town fall in heaps beneath ...
— La Vendee • Anthony Trollope

... making those disclosures, which at first he seemed bent on withholding. Whether the priest honestly interpreted what he believed the divinity said to him, or whether he was not all the while guilty of a vile humbug, I shall not presume to decide. At any rate, whatever as coming from the god was imparted to those present seemed to be generally of a complimentary nature: a fact which illustrates the sagacity of Kolory, or else the timeserving disposition of this ...
— Typee - A Romance of the South Sea • Herman Melville

... of Things as They Ought to Be is a humbug. There is but one God, and He is the God of Things ...
— 21 • Frank Crane

... "There's no humbug about her game," cried Black, whose face was lined with the furrows of anxiety and pale with long watching; "she means to take us on the open sea, and she's welcome to the course. If I don't riddle her like ...
— The Iron Pirate - A Plain Tale of Strange Happenings on the Sea • Max Pemberton

... stop stealin' and—and raise some honest children." Mr. Killibrew threw back his head broke into loud, jelly-like laughter. "Why, don't you know, Peter, she's an old liar. If I gave her a hundred a week, she'd steal. And children! Why, the old humbug! She's too old; she's had her crop. And, besides all that, I don't mind what the old woman takes. It isn't much. She's a good old darky, faithful as a dog." He arose from his swivel-chair briskly and floated Peter out before him. "Tell her, if she ...
— Birthright - A Novel • T.S. Stribling

... ear" means a horror of Martial's obscene jokes, I could wish that all Christians might have Dutch ears. When we consider their morals, no nation is more inclined to humanity and benevolence, less savage or cruel. Their mind is upright and void of cunning and all humbug. If they are somewhat sensual and excessive at meals, it results partly from their plentiful supply: nowhere is import so easy and fertility so great. What an extent of lush meadows, how many navigable rivers! Nowhere are so many towns crowded together within so small an ...
— Erasmus and the Age of Reformation • Johan Huizinga

... day I'll suddenly discover that He does exist. In that case, Mr. Savva, I thank you, but I'd rather not. Why should I? I live a nice, quiet existence. Of course, it's all a humbug, an imposition. But what business is it of mine? The people want to believe—let them. It ...
— Savva and The Life of Man • Leonid Andreyev

... attack. Thence various other alleys led to the front line. Our new sector was by no means luxurious. There was a front line trench and portions of a reserve line, all rather the worse for wear, while the communication trenches, "Hurrah" and "Humbug" Alleys, were unspeakably filthy. The whole area at the top of the hill was an appalling mess of tangled machinery from Puits 14 bis, battered trenches, the remains of two woods, Bois Hugo and Bois Raze, and shell holes of every size and shape. There was mud and wet chalk ...
— The Fifth Leicestershire - A Record Of The 1/5th Battalion The Leicestershire Regiment, - T.F., During The War, 1914-1919. • J.D. Hills

... Come, Belle, make up your mind, and let us be off to America; and leave priests, humbug, ...
— The Romany Rye • George Borrow

... do take interest—that's the mischief; there isn't time to work—that's the truth! I shall scrape through the Trip, and then I shall have done with all this nonsense about the classics; it really is humbug, isn't it? Such a fuss about nothing. The books I like are those in which people say what they might say, not those in which they say what they have had days to invent. I don't see the good of that. Why should I work, when I don't ...
— Watersprings • Arthur Christopher Benson

... Colonel staggered for a moment, and, oh—as the ladies say—is it not gratifying to find that where honest reasons go for nothing, humbug can obtain a moment's hearing? The Colonel admitted there was something in that; but even humbug could not divert him long from his mania. "The only thing to be done," said he, "is to cut him out between this and then. Why, ...
— A Perilous Secret • Charles Reade

... you out. You are not a bit solemn, really, only you put on the airs of a sister of mercy. So you don't like Etta; you need not be afraid of telling me so; she is the greatest humbug in the world, only Giles is so foolish as to believe in her. I call her a humbug because she pretends to be what she is not; she is really a most prosaic sort of person, and she wants to make people believe that she is ...
— Uncle Max • Rosa Nouchette Carey

... friend was deputed to enquire his purposes. Here Brummell's knowledge of every body did him good service. The deputy on this occasion having once figured as the head of a veterinary hospital, or some such thing, but being then in the commissariat,—"Why, Vulcan!" exclaimed Brummell, "what a humbug you must be to come and lecture me on such a subject! You, who were for two years at hide-and-seek to save yourself from being shot by Sir T. S. for running off with one of his daughters." "Dear me," said the astonished friend, "you have touched ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 344, June, 1844 • Various

... pulled from his pocket a small portable case of medicines—"Catch me without my tools,"—he said; "here I have the real useful pharmacopoeia—the rest is all humbug and hard names—this little case, with a fortnight or month, spring and fall, at St. Ronan's Well, and no one will die ...
— St. Ronan's Well • Sir Walter Scott

... his head and huge grizzled beard. "German University humbug!" growled he. "Get you into a scrape some day. The cloud's not made in that way, I tell you! Come, let's go back ...
— Idolatry - A Romance • Julian Hawthorne

... isn't Beer,—it's Candor!' said Abel. 'It's your own proposal, Hollins. Suppose it's evil to swear: isn't it better I should express it, and be done with it, than keep it bottled up, to ferment in my mind? Oh, you're a precious, consistent old humbug, you are!' ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 9, No. 52, February, 1862 • Various

... capital notion of the principles of grouping. Now these things are valuable in themselves, but they are doubly, trebly valuable as possessed by a person of real comic humour; and a total despiser of that Venerable Humbug which almost all the artists of our day seem, in one shape or other, to revere as the prime god of their idolatry. Nobody, that has the least of an eye for art, can doubt that Cruikshank, if he chose, might design as many annunciations, ...
— English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the Nineteenth Century. - How they Illustrated and Interpreted their Times. • Graham Everitt

... she was quite right. There were several wicked Witches who caused a lot of trouble; but now they are all out of business and only the great Sorceress, Glinda the Good, is permitted to practice her arts, which never harm anybody. The Wizard of Oz, who used to be a humbug and knew no magic at all, has been taking lessons of Glinda, and I'm told he is getting to be a pretty good Wizard; but he is merely the assistant of the great Sorceress. I've the right to make a servant girl for my wife, you know, or a ...
— The Patchwork Girl of Oz • L. Frank Baum

... a boy in our school who says there is no God at all, and that it's no use having priests or Cardinals or Cathedrals,—it's all rubbish and humbug!" ...
— The Master-Christian • Marie Corelli

... Pope's attack, but Pope—quoad Pope, the poet—against all the world, in the unjustifiable attempts begun by Warton and carried on at this day by the new school of critics and scribblers, who think themselves poets because they do not write like Pope. I have no patience with such cursed humbug and bad taste; your whole generation are not worth a Canto of the Rape of the Lock, or the Essay on Man, or the Dunciad, or 'any thing that is his.'—But it is three in the matin, and I must go to bed. Yours ...
— Life of Lord Byron, Vol. IV - With His Letters and Journals • Thomas Moore

... loved simple, natural, unaffected people, and the part of a sibyl was very distasteful to him. He suspected the inspiration of green tea in much that Margaret said, and very ungallantly pronounced her a humbug. But as he did this only upon the paper of his own private diary, with no thought of it ever being paraded before a critical and captious world, we should not blame him too severely. And if he was mistaken in what he wrote concerning ...
— Home Life of Great Authors • Hattie Tyng Griswold

... rang the bell and out came Simon—the man who'd got me convicted, and my own brother too, mind you!—looking as smug as the hard-hearted old humbug he was. He got the shock of his life when he saw who it was, but I began gently and I put a proposition to him. I'll bet none of you will guess ...
— Simon • J. Storer Clouston

... modern mode, also a dexterous liar and officious matchmaker, played with her head in her most accomplished manner and gave full value in the general scheme to a character which the author made a person when he might have been content with a peg. Mr. DION BOUCICAULT'S physician was as bland a humbug as ever coined guineas in Mayfair. Mr. MARTIN LEWIS, as a profoundly silly ass, played a difficult hand without fault. Miss NINA SEVENING, as a consoler of handsome men in trouble, and Miss FLORENCE LLOYD, as Caroline's maid, competently ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150, February 16, 1916 • Various

... sensible and practical a man," said the superintendent, sneering, "to be taken in by so palpable a humbug. Why, it reads like ...
— Brave and Bold • Horatio Alger, Jr.

... program. They all expect that I shall leave Paris to-night or early to-morrow. Indeed, an impudent fellow representing 'Le Soir' says that if I don't bestir myself I shall be christened the Sluggard King. But I shall humbug them finely. Leave that to me. Your portmanteaus have been smuggled out by way of the servants' quarters, and you must vanish unseen. Buy a ticket for Vienna, ignore Stampoff during the journey, accept my blessing, and take this." He ...
— A Son of the Immortals • Louis Tracy

... position, Fyodor Fedoritch,' Avdey went on with an affectation of sympathy; 'it's disagreeable, certainly. A man has been acting, acting a part, and no one has recognised him as a humbug; and ...
— The Jew And Other Stories • Ivan Turgenev

... what it is," persisted Tom, adding humbug to cruelty. "You would be nothing but a sham!—A live dishonesty! A jackdaw in peacock's feathers!—I am sorry, Letty, your own sense of truth and uprightness should not prevent even the passing desire to act such a lie. Your fine dress would be just a fine fib—yourself ...
— Mary Marston • George MacDonald

... sort.' Am I a humbug, an impostor, an adventuress, a puppet and play-actress? Or is it that I have forfeited my right, my rank of gentlewoman, my position in the ...
— The Passenger from Calais • Arthur Griffiths

... into the sectarian scientist's attitude, and imagine vividly that the world of sensations and of scientific laws and objects may be all. But whenever I do this, I hear that inward monitor of which W. K. Clifford once wrote, whispering the word "bosh!" Humbug is humbug, even though it bear the scientific name, and the total expression of human experience, as I view it objectively, invincibly urges me beyond the narrow "scientific" bounds. Assuredly, the real world is of a different temperament—more ...
— The Varieties of Religious Experience • William James

... her I think you'll take my views. Of course it's the very last thing I ever imagined myself doing; but I begin to see that the talk about fate isn't altogether humbug. I want this girl for my wife, and I never met any one else whom I really did want. She suits me exactly. It isn't as if I thought of marrying an ordinary, ignorant, low-class girl. Eve—that's her name—is very ...
— Eve's Ransom • George Gissing

... the chase almost as there are dogs. Some follow up the chase {asaphos}, indistinctly; some {polu upolambanousai}, with a good deal of guess-work; others again {doxazousai}, without conviction, insincerely; others, {peplasmenos}, out of mere pretence, pure humbug, make-believe, or {phthoneros}, in a fit of jealousy, {ekkunousi}, are skirters; al. ...
— The Sportsman - On Hunting, A Sportsman's Manual, Commonly Called Cynegeticus • Xenophon

... what humbug!" exclaimed Valero in utter indignation, "and may I ask if you have a tooth left in ...
— The Grandee • Armando Palacio Valds

... the postmaster, "you are not going to be fooled in this way. Dewitt is a humbug, ...
— The Lock and Key Library/Real Life #2 • Julian Hawthorne

... wrong and unmanly men about, then,' said Alaric. 'Look through the Houses of Parliament, and see how many men there have married for money; aye, and made excellent husbands afterwards. I'll tell you what it is, Charley, it is all humbug in you to pretend to be better than others; you are not a bit better;—mind, I do not say you are worse. We have none of us too much of this honesty of which we are so fond of prating. Where was your honesty when you ordered the coat ...
— The Three Clerks • Anthony Trollope

... can hardly tell you, it's so sad! If you're the sweet woman that in spite of everything I think you are, you'll be sorry all the way through to your heart. He—he hired a wretched humbug of a man who pretended to be an English swell to teach him manners, so that he could be a little worthier of you. He, Nick Hilliard, the noblest gentleman that ever drew breath, to stoop to learning from a little thing who called itself ...
— The Port of Adventure • Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson

... that on the following day, spent in idling in the forest and about the hamlet, conversing with the cottagers, we were told that our old man was a bit of a humbug; that he was a great talker, with a hundred schemes for the improvement of his fortunes, and, incidently, for the benefit of his neighbours and the world at large; but nothing came of it all and he was now fast sinking into ...
— Afoot in England • W.H. Hudson

... Oxford, whose Elementarbuch des gesprochenen Engliach, translated into his native language for the use of British islanders as a Primer of Spoken English, is the most accessible standard work on the subject. In such words as plum, come, humbug, up, gum, etc., Mr. Sweet's evidence is conclusive. Ladies and gentlemen in Southern England pronounce them as plam, kam, hambag, ap, gan, etc., exactly as Felix Drinkwater does. I could not claim Mr. Sweet's authority if I dared to whisper that such coster English as the rather ...
— Captain Brassbound's Conversion • George Bernard Shaw

... dress, and Mr. Canton had diligently fixed a great gulf between himself and his fellow-men. Charlton's old, bitter aggressiveness, which had well-nigh died out under the sweet influences of Lurton's peacefulness, came back now, and he mentally pronounced the new chaplain a clerical humbug and an ecclesiastical fop, and all such mild paradoxical epithets as he was capable of forming. The hour of service was ended, and Charlton was in his cell again, standing under the high window, trying to ...
— The Mystery of Metropolisville • Edward Eggleston

... a just, clever fellow he was! people said: one of those men improved by success: just to the defrauding of himself: saw the true worth of everybody, the very lowest: hadn't one spark of self-esteem: despised all humbug and show, one could see, though he never said it: when he was a boy, he was moody, with passionate likes and dislikes; but success had improved him, vastly. So Holmes was popular, though the beggars shunned him, and the lazy Italian organ-grinders never held their tambourines ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 51, January, 1862 • Various

... nonsense, and humbug. I told you that you were better away, and you determined to stay. I knew what was best for you, but you chose to be obstinate. I have not the slightest doubt as to who ...
— Is He Popenjoy? • Anthony Trollope

... "Mind you don't humbug me!" Chia She observed. "I shall to-morrow send again your mistress round to ask Yuean Yang. If you two have spoken to her, and she hasn't given a favorable answer, well, then, no blame will fall on you. But if she does assent, when she broaches ...
— Hung Lou Meng, Book II • Cao Xueqin

... in terrible difficulties. I've been waiting long enough. You must side with me actively, for your assistance is absolutely necessary to bring that mad girl to terms. I'm married to her. She's my wife. I must have control of this place at once; and I'll tolerate no farther opposition from her, or humbug from you. I've come now to tell ...
— The Living Link • James De Mille

... disposes of the last remnant of his reputation and wholly destroys his main usefulness as a moral agent, since it will make the sluggard hesitate to go to him any more. It is strange, beyond comprehension, that so manifest a humbug as the ant has been able to fool so many nations and keep it up so many ages without being ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... an open admission," he cried. "What more do you want? The fellow is a self-confessed humbug. We have only to return home and report him as the brazen imposter that ...
— The Lost World • Arthur Conan Doyle

... you see there is a lot of nonsense in all your superstitions. You know it was one of them that this place was guarded by demons. Now you have seen for yourself that it was all humbug. If you are afraid about the silver, I will take it to England and sell it there and send you the money it fetches; but that would give a great deal of trouble. It will be difficult to get the gold safely away, without being bothered with all ...
— The Treasure of the Incas • G. A. Henty

... time."... "There is a vast amount of thinking which ought to be in the market. We hold our best thoughts and give our second best."... "We do a good deal of shirking in this life on the ground of not being geniuses. The truth is, there is an immense amount of humbug lurking in the folds of those specious theories about genius. Let a man or woman go to work at a thing, and the genius will take care ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, September, 1885 • Various

... from my little correspondents for "more about the Wizard." It seems the jolly old fellow made hosts of friends in the first Oz book, in spite of the fact that he frankly acknowledged himself "a humbug." The children had heard how he mounted into the sky in a balloon and they were all waiting for him to come down again. So what could I do but tell "what happened to the Wizard afterward"? You will find him in these pages, just the same humbug ...
— Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz • L. Frank Baum.

... orthodox toes Are seldom withdrawn from the stirrup. Dr. Humdrum, whose eloquence flows, Like droppings of sweet poppy syrup; Dr. Rosygill puffing and fanning, And wiping away perspiration; Dr. Humbug, who proved Mr. Canning The beast in St. ...
— English Satires • Various

... little humbug, and goose, and prude," I said, laughing, as I released her. "What do you think of letting me kiss you like that, ...
— Five Nights • Victoria Cross

... breath, would not give up the decision of the most important questions of government, and therefore this abdication, after all, was merely an excellent means of divesting himself of burdensome obligations, embellished with a certain amount of humbug. ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... "physical scientist" pays any heed at all, that he will devise a series of "tests" and "experiments" of his own, to fit his preconceived notion of things psychical, with the latent conviction, at least, that he will be able to prove the whole thing a humbug. ...
— The New Avatar and The Destiny of the Soul - The Findings of Natural Science Reduced to Practical Studies - in Psychology • Jirah D. Buck

... kept in her armoury the weapon which can be so mightily effective if used sparingly by a really sincere individual—the knowledge of when to be a humbug. Ambition entered to a certain extent into her life, and governed it perhaps rather more than she knew. She desired to escape from the doom of being a nonentity, but the escape would have to be effected in her own way and in her own time; to be governed by ambition ...
— When William Came • Saki

... should think so? Much good they do me! Sir, you're a humbug!—an impostor! I'm a sight to be seen for the rest of my life! Look at me, sir! Eyebrows, ...
— Ten Thousand a-Year. Volume 1. • Samuel Warren

... Lest the artist's delineation of her charms on this very page humbug your fancy, take from me her authorized description. She was a nice-looking, awkward, loud, rather bashful, brown-haired girl, with a sallow complexion, bright eyes, and a perpetual smile. She had a wholesome, Spraggins-inherited love for plain food, ...
— Strictly Business • O. Henry

... Brandy, old fellow," said he as they walked down Fifth Avenue in the gathering dusk of the early winter evening, "ever since I've begun to suspect that damned old humbug of a father of hers, I've been congratulating myself that there isn't the remotest chance of his ever becoming my father-in-law. And, by George, you'll never know how near I was to leaping blindly into the brambles. What a close ...
— The Hollow of Her Hand • George Barr McCutcheon

... pirate vessels, which are intended to prey on our commerce. How long will it be before retaliation on England begins, and, when it begins, how will it end? Ay—how will it end? It is not to be supposed that we can long be blinded by such a flimsy humbug as a transfer to Southern possession of these vessels 'for the Chinese trade!' Are the English mad, demented, or besotted, that they suppose we intend to endure such deliberate aid of our enemies? When those vessels 'for the Chinese' are afloat, and our merchants begin to suffer, ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. III, No IV, April 1863 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... the Life of Sheridan, Byron gave him some advice. "Never mind," he says, "the angry lies of the humbug Whigs. Recollect that he was an Irishman and a clever fellow, and that we have had some very pleasant days with him. Don't forget that he was at school at Harrow, where, in my time, we used to show his name—R. B. Sheridan, ...
— The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 4 • Lord Byron

... Carlyle that there is a world diameter between the South hiring a man for life, and by force holding him in slavery. But Carlyle for three years poured out such vapid humbug, cant and hypocrisy as this, and never once was sound in his thinking or fair in his view-point during ...
— The Battle of Principles - A Study of the Heroism and Eloquence of the Anti-Slavery Conflict • Newell Dwight Hillis

... not a humbug, and because I am. My depraved spirit instantly recognized the dawning duplicity of yours. But you'd better be honest. You can't make the other thing work. What do ...
— The Lady of the Aroostook • W. D. Howells

... vote of Langdon could not be secured by humbug or in exchange for favors and as it could not be "delivered," Peabody, of course, was willing to pay in actual cash for the vote. This was the final step but one in political conspiracies of this ...
— A Gentleman from Mississippi • Thomas A. Wise

... is what keeps you from promising me anything. But surely you do not care for him now. Why—why, you couldn't! The fellow who could show the white feather at such a time as this, and then try and cover up his cowardice by all that religious humbug, is not of your class, Nancy. He's a rank outsider. I'm sorry I was ever friends with him. Your father told me he was mad with himself for ever allowing him inside ...
— All for a Scrap of Paper - A Romance of the Present War • Joseph Hocking

... account by Megasthenes of Indian beginnings (Plinius and Arrianus) at all amiss: the Kaliyuga computation of 3102 B. C. is purely humbug, just like the statement about the beginning of the Chinese times, to which Lassen gives credit. How can Herodotus have arrived at a female Mithra, Mylitta? Everything feminine is incompatible with the sun, yet nowhere, as far as I can see, does any deity corresponding to ...
— Chips From A German Workshop. Vol. III. • F. Max Mueller

... a joint resolution of Congress, the use of "that first-class humbug and fraud, the whiskey meter," has been abolished. Now there are dozens of members of Congress who are not only "first-class humbugs and frauds," but whiskey meters, to whom whiskey is both meat and drink, and yet who ever heard of ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 18, July 30, 1870 • Various

... "A humbug, again!" cried the old gentleman, growing more and more testy at these glimpses of Clifford's metaphysics. "I should like to rap with a good stick on the empty pates of the dolts ...
— The House of the Seven Gables • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... Er sauft. De Englishman, he sits down fresh and intends to get fuddled; but he is a hypocrite. He does not say de truth to hisself nor to nobody, he says, I will get fresh, when he means de odder ding. Big humbug. You understand?" ...
— In Troubadour-Land - A Ramble in Provence and Languedoc • S. Baring-Gould

... Humbug, humbug, humbug!" cried Prince Bolkonski, frowning and taking his daughter's hand; he did not kiss her, but only bending his forehead to hers just touched it, and pressed her hand so that she winced ...
— War and Peace • Leo Tolstoy

... No end of a shirty letter from the Governor. Wants to know how much longer I expect him to be tied to the office. Old humbug, when he only turns up twice a week ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 102, Feb. 20, 1892 • Various

... to Mugs by a Humbug. That's what it ought to be called. I was looking forward to having a good crack with you the night, but sure a newspaper man need never hope to have ten minutes to himself. I've given Miss Squibb orders to have a good warm supper ready ...
— The Foolish Lovers • St. John G. Ervine

... has thrown them out of their reckoning. Fright unsettles the judgment: the oppressive silence of the woods is a vacuum in which the mind goes astray. It's a hollow sham, this pantheism, I said; being "one with Nature" is all humbug: I should like to see somebody. Man, to be sure, is of very little account, and soon gets beyond his depth; but the society of the least human being is better than this gigantic indifference. The "rapture on the lonely shore" is agreeable only when you know ...
— Baddeck and That Sort of Thing • Charles Dudley Warner

... Nathan rather sharply, to discover any mischief which might lurk in his expression. Perceiving that he looked perfectly sincere, and was innocent of any intention to quiz him, he merely uttered, in the most contemptuous tone, the single word "Humbug!" ...
— Hatchie, the Guardian Slave; or, The Heiress of Bellevue • Warren T. Ashton

... experience infinite pleasure and edification, particularly as it seems to us to be strongly contrasted with an appearance, in all the other chimneys, of an indefinable something, only to be expressed by the interesting word "humbug." Fig. 7 a is a chimney of Cumberland, and the north of Lancashire. It is, as may be seen at a glance, only applicable at the extremity of the roof, and requires a bent flue. It is built of unhewn stones, in the same manner ...
— The Poetry of Architecture • John Ruskin

... he's a bit of a humbug with it. I thought so, and the doctor endorses my ideas. He likes being ill and nursed and petted with the best food, so as to keep out of the hard work. I don't like the fellow a bit. There, you've talked enough now, ...
— The Kopje Garrison - A Story of the Boer War • George Manville Fenn

... marks: He was awed by "the grandeur of the mountains". "A humbug". "Fetch". "Stonewall" Jackson. He was ...
— The Century Handbook of Writing • Garland Greever

... large and filthy pocket-book, all with the gravity of Solomon. He then thanked me profusely, remarking that such little services were due between countrymen; shook hands with me, "for auld lang syne," as he said; and took himself solemnly away, radiating dirt and humbug as he went. ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition - Vol. 2 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... making of a book in large type—the book of the hour; and the profits of this scandalous volume or, if one preferred the name, this reconstruction, before an impartial posterity, of a great historical humbug, the sum "down," in other words, that any lively publisher would give for it, figured vividly in Mr. Locket's calculations. It was therefore altogether an opportunity of dealing at first hand with the lively publisher that Peter was invited to forego. Peter ...
— Sir Dominick Ferrand • Henry James

... Humbug, stood on the platform looking at us (I was afterwards told), and was heard to exclaim, "D——n his eyes" (meaning our captain), "there he goes at last! I was afraid that that fellow would have grounded on his beef bones before we should ...
— Frank Mildmay • Captain Frederick Marryat

... Talent isn't genius, and you can't make it so. That music has taken the vanity out of me as Rome took it out of her, and I won't be a humbug any longer. Now what shall ...
— Little Women • Louisa May Alcott

... are fools and fools." Elisabeth spoke severely; she was always merciless upon anything in the shape of humbug or snobbery. Maria Farringdon's training had not ...
— The Farringdons • Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler

... Henri IV., for if they did not instigate Ravaillac, their doctrine of regicide inspired him. They can creep into any kingdom, any institution, any household, because they readily accept any terms and subscribe to any conditions in the certainty that by the adroit use of flattery, humbug, falsehood, and corruption, they will soon become masters of the situation. In France they are the real Morbus Gallicus. In Italy they are the soul of ...
— Renaissance in Italy, Volumes 1 and 2 - The Catholic Reaction • John Addington Symonds

... Bozzy calls him—objecting, quarrelling, and, at last, on one occasion was so rude that he had to withdraw. Now, that this offence was rankling is evident, and it explains the fracas which took place at the opening. Blotton looked on Mr. Pickwick's travelling as pure humbug. The idea of his contributing anything useful or instructive in his so-called reports seemed nonsense. Further, was it not something of a job? Pickwick was taking three of his own special "creatures" with him—Winkle, ...
— Pickwickian Studies • Percy Fitzgerald

... have seen what a horrid grimace he made, and how he lifted up both his hands, as if to wave off an imaginary cup of tea! I always thought that the tea sent over to this country from China was a miserable humbug; so poor Min-Yung's horror at being asked to drink a cup of it, quite upset me, and I laughed immoderately. Min-Yung laughed, too; and understood by the way I shook my fore-finger at him, just as well as if I had said, "You know very ...
— Little Ferns For Fanny's Little Friends • Fanny Fern

... sand-hills. "The very tick of the clock was enough to drive one mad in those long fearful pauses—solemn and silent as death! Can't the fools do anything for her? What is the use of nurses and doctors, and all the humbug of medicine and science? My darling! my darling! It was too cruel to hear you wailing and crying, and to know I could do you no good! What a coward I am to have fled into the wilderness like a murderer! I couldn't have stayed there, I feel I couldn't! I wish I hadn't listened at the door! ...
— M. or N. "Similia similibus curantur." • G.J. Whyte-Melville

... yet remained: would they not then effectively work falsehood? Can they consequently be treated distinctively as the truth-builders? It is the INHERENT RELATION TO REALITY of a belief that gives us that specific TRUTH-satisfaction, compared with which all other satisfactions are the hollowest humbug. The satisfaction of KNOWING TRULY is thus the only one which the pragmatist ought to have considered. As a PSYCHOLOGICAL SENTIMENT, the anti-pragmatist gladly concedes it to him, but then only as a concomitant of truth, not ...
— The Meaning of Truth • William James

... days when my mind misgives me whether the pictorial art be not a humbug, and when the minute accuracy of a fly in a Dutch picture of fruit and flowers seems to me something more reliable than the master-touches of Raphael. The gallery was considerably thronged, and many of the visitors ...
— Passages From the French and Italian Notebooks, Complete • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... of today. Formerly, upon exciting occasions, we had a good nervous attack and all was over; the crisis passed, we became amiable again, put on rouge and went to a ball. Now it is languor, ennui, stomach troubles—all imagination and humbug! The men are just as bad, and they call it spleen! Spleen! a new discovery, an English importation! Fine things come to us from England; to begin with, the constitutional government! All this is perfectly ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... "Humbug! every one of you chimed in as soon as it was mentioned, and so you're entitled to as much praise as I am. But about those uniforms, boys—hadn't the scout tailor better get to work, going over his measurements again? We want the suits to fit all ...
— The Banner Boy Scouts - Or, The Struggle for Leadership • George A. Warren

... entirely ceased to believe in Ancient Mythology, and has been even heard to hint that he considers Dr. LEMPRIERE a bit of a humbug. ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Volume 102, Jan. 2, 1892 • Various

... the editor of The Day After To-morrow. The writer of it was a total stranger to me, even by report, and at first I did not know what to make of it. Was the man a charlatan, or a "crank?" There were no signs of craziness or humbug in his frank and simple sentences. Had he really found out a way of crossing the celestial spaces? In these days it is better not to be too sceptical as to what science will accomplish. It is, in fact, wise to keep the mind open and suspend the judgment. We are standing on the threshold of the Arcana, ...
— A Trip to Venus • John Munro

... of these things sometimes, doctor, and though a great deal of it seems to be humbug, it is as you say—I know some are sincere, and I know there is a right way. I have been more than half tempted many times during the last few weeks to discover for myself the secret of power, but I am deterred ...
— Ester Ried • Pansy (aka. Isabella M. Alden)

... you have it. It is in the funds, mind. And now let me tell you what the funds are; which is necessary if you have not read my little book called Paper against Gold. The funds is no place at all, Jack. It is nothing, Jack. It is moonshine. It is a lie, a bubble, a fraud, a cheat, a humbug. And it is all these in the most perfect degree. People think that the funds is a place where money is kept. They think that it is a place which contains that which they have deposited. But the fact is, that the ...
— Political Pamphlets • George Saintsbury

... patent to all of us here, As any mere schoolboy can tell." Pond answered, "Of course it's quite clear;" And so did that humbug Morell. ...
— Bab Ballads and Savoy Songs • W. S. Gilbert

... nephew of the man Ferguson used to work for. Besides he's got a way of getting round people. He's a humbug ...
— Tom, The Bootblack - or, The Road to Success • Horatio Alger

... recoiling fingers. "Harness up your little bill as quick as you can, and drive it like Jehu. Fastburg to be the only capital. Slowburg no claims at all, historical, geographical, or economic. The old arrangement a humbug; as inconvenient as a fifth wheel of a coach; costs the State thousands of greenbacks every year. Figure it all up statistically and dab it over with your shiniest rhetoric and make a big thing of it every way. That's what you've got to do; that's your little ...
— Stories by American Authors (Volume 4) • Constance Fenimore Woolson

... good, Mary," he said, wiping the perspiration from his forehead; "they're running like blazes to the south along through the furze. I suppose the devils took it that way to humbug your father, and then they'll turn for the bridge and run into Madore; and there's ...
— All on the Irish Shore - Irish Sketches • E. Somerville and Martin Ross

... are roundly called lies, and his silence is vilified as treachery. And on the strength of peccadillos, reprehensible in an author, but excusable in a son, the Anglo-Saxon race is accused of prudishness, humbug, pretentiousness, deceit, cunning, and bad cooking. Personally I think it was rash of Mr. Strickland, in refuting the account which had gained belief of a certain "unpleasantness" between his father and ...
— The Moon and Sixpence • W. Somerset Maugham

... the world. We owed each other the truth. We know it now; we know where we are. We needn't humbug ourselves and each other any more. You see what comes of keeping back the truth. Look how we've had to pay for it. You and me. Would you rather go on thinking ...
— Anne Severn and the Fieldings • May Sinclair

... times submit to expense and inconvenience than hand the country over to a set of thieves who'd sell us to-morrow. We're not such fools as ye take us for. Don't we know these heroes? And when we see them and Gladstone and Morley and Humbug Harcourt with his seventeen chins, all rowling together in Abraham's bosom (as ye may say)—Harcourt licking Harrington's boots, when only yesterday Tim was spittin' in his eye—we say to ourselves 'Wait yet awhile, my Boys, wait yet awhile.' But when ...
— Ireland as It Is - And as It Would be Under Home Rule • Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

... as well confess at once that I was sadly disappointed. It was a pleasure, of course, to see what I had read of and pictured to my mind, from early boyhood; but this contemptible little affair looked very much like a humbug. A vague idea had taken possession of my mind that I would see a whole district of country shooting up hot water and sulphurous vapors—a kind of hell upon earth; but that thing ahead of us—that little curl of smoke on the horizon ...
— The Land of Thor • J. Ross Browne

... American public discern the difference between a true fac-simile and a cunning counterfeit. Instead of the sham tete-de-Buchanan, they see the very "trick of Coeur-de-lion's face;" and finding themselves as little taxed for the original, as ever they were for the humbug, vote you a public benefactor, and send a round-robin to Congress demanding the instantaneous enactment of a universal copyright law, if not the grant of a gold medal to the beneficent Godfrey. I anticipate, however, your reply. Ten thousand copyrights ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, Number 385. November, 1847. • Various

... said the gardener sharply; "and you can tell the Captain if you like. I say it aren't fair to try and humbug a lot o' men as is ready to fight for you. It's like saying 'rats' to a dog when there ...
— Nic Revel - A White Slave's Adventures in Alligator Land • George Manville Fenn

... exceptionally graphic description of a lagoon on the top of one of the highest peaks of Hinchinbrook Island, in which all manner of sea fish revelled. When doubt was expressed as to the possibility of sea-water and sea-fish getting up so far "on top" and it was suggested—"What you think, that old man humbug you?" "Yes," was the ready response; "me think that old fella no tell true. Him humbug." Some blacks possess something wiser ...
— The Confessions of a Beachcomber • E J Banfield

... 'You dear old humbug,' she cried, cutting short the sentence that neither of them quite understood, 'I believe you've ...
— A Prisoner in Fairyland • Algernon Blackwood

... have any of that professional humbug, Pepps," rejoined her ladyship. "You doctors know a common disorder as soon as you see it, only you think it looks wise not to say. Is ...
— Elster's Folly • Mrs. Henry Wood

... illustrated. An index of 20 pages, so that any topic may be instantly consulted. A new departure in medical knowledge for the people—the latest progress, secrets and practices of all schools of healing made available for the common people—health without medicine, nature without humbug, common sense without folly, science without fraud. 12mo. 576 ...
— The Peanut Plant - Its Cultivation And Uses • B. W. Jones

... for such a milksop, Such a milksop, such a humbug; 180 I must have a graceful husband, I myself am also graceful; I must have a shapely husband, I myself am also shapely; And a well-proportioned husband, I ...
— Kalevala, Volume I (of 2) - The Land of the Heroes • Anonymous

... the mulatto Ned. His birthday-celebration dinner, at which the New Year's piscatory phenomenon figures in the bill of fare. A total disregard of dry laws at the dinner. Excitement over reported discovery of quartz-mines. A complete humbug. Charges of salting. Excitement renewed upon report of other new quartz-mines. Even if rich, lack of proper machinery would render the working thereof impossible. Prediction that quartz-mining eventually will be the most profitable. Miners ...
— The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-52 • Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe



Words linked to "Humbug" :   deception, deceit, chicanery, deceive, delude, goldbrick, cant, jargon, slang, meaninglessness, nonsense, argot, cozen, hokum, trickery, patois, vernacular, lead on, bunk, lingo, wile, nonsensicality, chicane, guile, misrepresentation, shenanigan



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