Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Something apparently impressive or legitimate but actually untrue or insincere; nonsense.
  • n. A stock technique for eliciting a desired response from an audience.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Meaningless nonsense with an outward appearance of being impressive and legitimate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a message that seems to convey no meaning

Etymologies

Perhaps ho(cus-pocus) + (bun)kum.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Blend of hocus-pocus and bunkum (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He fought a long battle against what he called hokum, ideas with no basis, which gain spurious credibility by repetition (in the way that so many celebrities are celebrities for no other reason than that they are regarded as such by the media and society pop pundits).

    Club Troppo

  • However this sort of hokum is not proscribed within the class CBlockbuster, is in fact a widely accepted strategy for achieving resolution.

    Ethics and Enthusiasm

  • What’s more, you’re “love it or leave it” hokum is the height of anti-American rhetorical irony.

    Matthew Yglesias » Good Fences Make Bad Policy

  • So the integrity of the Commission, the veracity of all the testimony it heard, and the legitimacy of its recommendations were, in fact, widely dismissed as hokum because it was clear to "everyone who could read the facts" (or hokum, which is it?) that the whole thing was Jamie Gorelick's fault?

    In Letter, Albright And Berger Demand Kean Get ABC To Kill Film

  • It is extremely high-grade hokum, which is to say it offers several different and combustible varieties.

    chicagotribune.com - News

  • It is perceived as "hokum" because on one hand Edwards denounced 527's along with other special interest groups (as detailed above) but on the other refused to request that one operating on his behalf cease their advertising.

    Krugman Hits Obama Yet Again -- This Time On Battle With Edwards Over 527s

  • As far as having two thirds seats being "hokum" that is not something you are in any position to declare until AFTER the election.

    On Thursday, the Legg report will be published along with...

  • In this case, moving the funny-page content to a page formerly devoted to the news just might notch up the credulity paid to what would normally be considered standard WSH editorial right wing "hokum," to borrow a word from Li'l Abner's mammy, Pansy.

    Printing: Rove's Obama Hit-Job Re-Run Oozes Out of Murdoch's Wall Street Journal Op-Ed Section

  • The novel has an ending I wish I never read, not because it is "hokum," as one critic wrote, but because it bothers me so intensely.

    Dirty Old Men at the Bar

  • This song was the only example of a southern medicine show "hokum" song that Robert recorded;

    They're Red Hot

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Comments

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  • Ufff, WeirdNet (2) strikes again.

    September 13, 2008

  • n. Flattery, insincerity; nonsense, bunk, blah.
    Any stage devise used purely to please the audience, any proven song, joke, or line sure to elicit the desired response. Proven but hackneyed or trite material used in the theatre.
    Cheap, sugary candy, shoddy souvenirs, any useless item such as is sold at carnival booths.

    July 16, 2008