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Humbug   Listen
noun
Humbug  n.  
1.
An imposition under fair pretenses; something contrived in order to deceive and mislead; a trick by cajolery; a hoax.
2.
A spirit of deception; cajolery; trickishness.
3.
One who deceives or misleads; a deceitful or trickish fellow; an impostor.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Humbug" Quotes from Famous Books



... and mate talking together in the friendliest way possible. That Hudson is a humbug; there is some mystery between him ...
— Foul Play • Charles Reade

... for the most part quite sincere. The common libertine, like the drunkard, succumbs to a temptation which he does not defend, and against which he warns others with an earnestness proportionate to the intensity of his own remorse. He (or she) may be a liar and a humbug, pretending to be better than the detected libertines, and clamoring for their condign punishment; but this is mere self-defence. No reasonable person expects the burglar to confess his pursuits, or to refrain from joining in the cry of Stop Thief when ...
— Overruled • George Bernard Shaw

... his shoulders, tore up the calendar, and said, beating the floor with his foot, "Your almanac is a humbug!" ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 1 • Charles Dudley Warner

... Murdock and Elfie St. Clair type appealed strongly to the broker. Not only did he enjoy their bohemianism and careless good-fellowship, but he entered fully into the spirit of their way of living. He professed to understand them and in a measure to sympathize with them. Entirely without humbug or cant, he recognized that they had their own place in the social game. They were outcasts, if you will, but interesting and amusing outcasts. He rather liked the looseness of living which does not quite ...
— The Easiest Way - A Story of Metropolitan Life • Eugene Walter and Arthur Hornblow

... of Bremen, residing in New York, to his sister, who was living in Bremen, and who, in her correspondence with her brother, had been rallying him about the American spirit-rappings, and other Yankee humbug, as she styled it, so rampant in the United States. Her brother instanced this table-moving, performed in America, as no delusion, but as a fact, which might be verified by any one; and then gave some directions for making the experiment, which ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 197, August 6, 1853 • Various

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

... 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

... nothing—you need only sign—have they not done the likes of us often enough? No, my friend, none of your humbug. Nowadays we have a little sense," he added, and began shouting at a colt that ...
— Resurrection • Count Leo Tolstoy

... 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 the lowest depths ...
— Afoot in England • W.H. Hudson

... work without delay, asking questions of every one whom he for a moment saw standing quiet, and was likely to answer him. Harry Bevan told him a good deal, as did the other midshipmen, no one showing a disposition to humbug him, possibly on Jack's account, who would have found them out if they had. Before night Tom began to fancy that he really knew something about a ship, though it might be some time before he could consider himself a ...
— The Three Lieutenants • W.H.G. Kingston

... you may imagine. I was a 'psychical researcher,' and a young woman of new tendencies, and proud of my liberty, but I did not care to find myself in an empty house with a stranger. Something of my confidence left me. Confidence with women, you know, is all humbug after a certain point. Or perhaps you don't know, for most of you are men. But anyhow my pluck ebbed in a quick ...
— The Best Ghost Stories • Various

... All that humbug which has only sent poor folks to rack and ruin! Ah! I should just like to see you trying to cultivate the land better, and make it yield what it'll never yield ...
— Fruitfulness - Fecondite • Emile Zola

... On my knees and fowl I fall: For greater grace and better gravy call. Vive l'Humbug!—that's to say, God ...
— Shapes of Clay • Ambrose Bierce

... now produced some famous wine, that had been eleven years in bottle. We were unusually merry, and fell into toasts and speeches. I felt as if I had been his intimate friend for years, for he had not one atom of Levantine "humbug" in his composition. Poor fellow, little did he think, that in a few short weeks from this period his blood would flow as freely as the wine which he poured into ...
— Servia, Youngest Member of the European Family • Andrew Archibald Paton

... for his tenderness, his jollity and his power to read the heart of boy and man and woman; not only for the tragedies and afflictions of his life so unconquerably borne; not only for his brave and fiery dashes against tyranny, humbug, and corruption at home and abroad; but also because his countrymen feel him to be, beyond all other men, the incarnation ...
— Mark Twain • Archibald Henderson

... senility were any one disposed to question the value of my statements—could announce to the world my great discovery a thousand times a day, and very properly the world would decline to believe in me. The world would cry humbug, and I should have been unable, had I failed to find you, to convince the world that I was not a humbug. With the discovery of your eye, all that is changed. I shall have an ally in you, and that is valuable for the reason that your statements, ...
— The Water Ghost and Others • John Kendrick Bangs

... hunter was dressed as an Indian, and mounted on horseback; he proceeded to show how the wild buffalo is captured with a lasso, but unfortunately the yearlings would not run till the crowd gave a great shout, expressive at once of derision and delight at the harmless humbug. This shout started the young animals into a weak gallop and the lasso was duly thrown over the head of the largest calf. The crowd roared with laughter, listened to the balcony band, which was also furnished "free," and then started for New ...
— A Unique Story of a Marvellous Career. Life of Hon. Phineas T. • Joel Benton

... is in all sciences; when truth fails them and they are at fault, they fill up the hiatus with supposition; which is, as you term it, humbug." ...
— The Mission • Frederick Marryat

... ah! yes, I remember. It is well. The effect of that prescription was wonderful. I'll never call homoeopathy a humbug again.' ...
— Jo's Boys • Louisa May Alcott

... attempting to bamboozle the public into buying what neither he nor the public really cares for. If he does his best he may feel that he is as fairly earning his livelihood as his fellow workmen, the blacksmith and the stonecutter, and is as little dependent as they upon either charity or humbug. The best that government has done for art in France is the commissioning of the great decorative paintings of Baudry and Puvis. In this country, also, governments, national, State, or municipal, are patronizing art in the best possible ...
— Artist and Public - And Other Essays On Art Subjects • Kenyon Cox

... Blackwood's Magazine, after long bedaubing me with compliment, has began to bedaub Lockhart for my sake, or perhaps me for Lockhart's sake, with abuse. Lockhart's chief offence seems to have been explaining the humbug of showing up Hogg as a fool and blackguard in what he calls the Noctes.[436] For me I care wonderfully little either for his ...
— The Journal of Sir Walter Scott - From the Original Manuscript at Abbotsford • Walter Scott

... seconds by the drum beating "to quarters," and in less than five minutes every approach to the Residency was held by men with fixed bayonets, and fourteen rounds of ball-cartridges each in their belts, and every road round Klang was being patrolled by pickets. I knew instinctively that it was "humbug," arranged to show the celerity with which the little army could be turned out; and shortly an orderly arrived with a note—"False alarm;" but Klang never subsided all night, and the Klings beat their tom-toms till daylight. I am ...
— The Golden Chersonese and the Way Thither • Isabella L. Bird (Mrs. Bishop)

... so very good,' said Mark. He felt himself a humbug, for he could have leaped the stile with ease at that very moment. He had very little excuse for practising in this way on her womanly sympathy, except that he dreaded to lose her just yet, and found such a subtle intoxication in being ...
— The Giant's Robe • F. Anstey

... you? Why, he disapproved of gambling; couldn't think of lending me a sixpence for any such purpose; and, as for going into such a suspected quarter as a gambling-house—wouldn't do it for the world! Was there ever such a puritan—such a humbug!" ...
— Confession • W. Gilmore Simms

... "I hope you'll be able to stand Bayou La Farouche till you're married. I couldn't do it. I roar over your letters. But I swear I respect your powers of humbug. I suppose, if you didn't let out to me, you never could lie so to your dear Saccharissa. Do you know I think you are a little too severe in calling her a mean, spiteful, slipshod, vulgar, dumpy ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, No. 47, September, 1861 • Various

... dollars. The daily sale of water is six thousand inches, with a weekly income of six thousand dollars. The principal mining towns are Nevada, Grass Valley, North San Juan, Rough and Ready, Orleans Flat, Moore's Flat and Humbug City. ...
— Hittel on Gold Mines and Mining • John S. Hittell

... could look into their eyes without trouble; and he was not withheld, by any bashful sentimentalism, from recognising what he saw there and unsparingly putting it down upon the canvas. But where people cannot meet without some confusion and a good deal of involuntary humbug, and are occupied, for as long as they are together, with a very different vein of thought, there cannot be much room for intelligent study nor much result in the shape of genuine comprehension. Even women, who understand men so well for practical purposes, do not know them well enough for ...
— Virginibus Puerisque • Robert Louis Stevenson

... suppose, how Dickens's 'Cricket' sells by nineteen thousand copies at a time, though he takes Michael Angelo to be 'a humbug'—or for 'though' read 'because.' Tell me of Mr. Kenyon's ...
— The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, Vol. 1 (of 2) 1845-1846 • Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett

... Ernestine L. Rose, and her followers in pantalets and short gowns. The people outside, and especially those interested in the progress of legislation, are beginning to ask one another how long this farce is to continue. How long this most egregious and ridiculous humbug is to be permitted to obstruct the progress of business before the Committees and the Houses, and whether Mrs. Ernestine L. Rose and her followers ought not to be satisfied with the notoriety they have already attained. The great body of the people regard ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume I • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage

... guns, and four-in-hand harness, against the return of Ulysses. Little did they dream that the hero, once back from Troy and all its onsets, would scornfully condemn their clumsy but laborious armoury as rot and humbug and only fit for kids! This, with many another like awakening, was mercifully hidden from them. Could the veil have been lifted, and the girls permitted to see Edward as he would appear a short three months hence, ragged of attire and lawless of tongue, a scorner of tradition and an ...
— The Golden Age • Kenneth Grahame

... I, and we walked away, both commenting, after each other's fashion, upon this ragged old sailor; and agreed that he was nothing but a humbug, trying to be a bugbear. But we had not gone perhaps above a hundred yards, when chancing to turn a corner, and looking back as I did so, who should be seen but Elijah following us, though at a distance. ...
— Moby Dick; or The Whale • Herman Melville

... they were gay, sympathetic when sympathy was expected. With them he was even more popular than with the men, for the latter, although they admired and somewhat envied his varied acquirements, were apt in the intimacy of private conversation to speak of him as a humbug. ...
— Through the Fray - A Tale of the Luddite Riots • G. A. Henty

... sitting with my microscope, upon my parlor rug, With a very heavy quarto and a very lively bug; The true bug had been organized with only two antennae, But the humbug in the copperplate would have them ...
— The Poetical Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Complete • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... "You little humbug," he said, with half a laugh—for he is not an ill-natured fellow when you come to know him—"you managed it very cleverly, and I'm not one to bear malice; but, I say, your friend ...
— Pussy and Doggy Tales • Edith Nesbit

... speeches are printed and sent to them, to prove that their member makes some noise in the house. The subject upon which he speaks is of little consequence, compared to the sentiments expressed. It must be full of eagles, star-spangled banners, sovereign people, clap-trap, flattery, and humbug. I have said that very little business is done in these houses; but this is caused not only by their long-winded speeches about nothing, but by the fact that both parties (in this respect laudably following the example of the old ...
— Diary in America, Series One • Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)

... 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

... to go and live on a farm, Humbug, where you could have chickens and calves and ponies to play with? It would put more color into ...
— Chicken Little Jane • Lily Munsell Ritchie

... give me," the young man none the less rationally asked, "the chance to be? A brute of a humbug to her?" ...
— The Wings of the Dove, Volume II • Henry James

... grateful and proud, "I feel such a humbug. You know when I wrote that letter to the Fraulein I said I was a member of the Church. I know what it will be, I shall have to take the ...
— Pointed Roofs - Pilgrimage, Volume 1 • Dorothy Richardson

... 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 ...
— The Land of Thor • J. Ross Browne

... people who did not know me personally yelled with delight at the aspect of the evening; the Governor was beside himself, and poor Isaacs thought he was undone! Alas, it was I! A boy in the gallery cried in a loud tone, "It's all an infernal humbug," just as Dennis, waving his hand, commanded silence, and tried No. 4: "I agree, in general, with my friend the other side of the room." The poor Governor doubted his senses and crossed to stop him,—not in time, ...
— The Man Without a Country and Other Tales • Edward E. Hale

... there is something to get over. It would be ridiculous not to admit that. And I am always determined to be perfectly straightforward. I detest humbug of any kind. So I do not deny for a moment that there is something. Still it would be a very good marriage for Constance, a very good marriage, indeed. Even papa must acknowledge that. Money, position, ...
— The History of Sir Richard Calmady - A Romance • Lucas Malet

... curious,' he comments, 'to have known thus the two great heads of the two great parties, the Duke and Lord Grey. I prefer the Duke infinitely. He is more manly, has no vanity, is not deluded by any flattery or humbug, and is in every way a grander character, though Lord Grey is a fine, ...
— Little Memoirs of the Nineteenth Century • George Paston

... so impatient that I had thoughts of sending for my bouquets to the nearest stand. But I reflected that the ladies would see through the chinks of their shutters that they must have been bought and might make up their minds from this that I was a humbug. So I composed myself and finally, though the delay was long, perceived some appearances of bloom. This encouraged me, and I waited serenely enough till they multiplied. Meanwhile the real summer days arrived and began to pass, and as ...
— The Aspern Papers • Henry James

... convinced to the contrary that I was now persuaded that there was a simulation of personality, such as was generally the case with the public mediums, and I said to my brother, who had not heard any of my questions, that this was another humbug, and then repeated what had passed, saying that Turner could not have worked in that way. After this I did not care ...
— The Autobiography of a Journalist, Volume I • Stillman, William James

... in tones so languid and empty of heart that none but Justice Shallow could have helped seeing through the humbug. Others did it better; and not a few overdid it, so that any but Justice Shallow would have seen through them. These last told Messrs. Shallow and Slender that the best thing that ever happened to them was coming to —— Jail. They thanked Heaven they had ...
— It Is Never Too Late to Mend • Charles Reade

... The Medical Record shows that out of one hundred cases like yours, one per cent invariably recovers. I've treated ninety-nine cases, and every one of them died. Why, man alive, you can't die if you try! There's no humbug in statistics." ...
— Toaster's Handbook - Jokes, Stories, and Quotations • Peggy Edmund & Harold W. Williams, compilers

... point, Sile. He brought me fair specimens. There isn't any humbug or delusion about it. It's all right, Pine, so far as I can see. As for safety, the mouth of this notch could be made a perfect fort of, if we had to quit mining and go ...
— Two Arrows - A Story of Red and White • William O. Stoddard

... specimens with her, she went to Dover, and showed them to the ladies and gentlemen. At last one gentleman, a Mr. Ritson, who was rich, and fond of art, said to her, "Don't try to humbug me, little girl. Yon never did this work. Come in, ...
— The Nursery, Number 164 - A Monthly Magazine for Youngest Readers • Various

... self-pity and his nauseous sentimentality parade themselves on almost every page. For all his "Oh heavenses," "courageous little souls," and "ay de mis," he never once guessed the nature of his offence, never realized the beastliness of that moral and religious humbug which to himself seems always to have justified him in playing tyrant and vampire to a woman ...
— Pot-Boilers • Clive Bell

... 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 all of ...
— The Jew And Other Stories • Ivan Turgenev

... "No, no, don't humbug yourself. You like her. You care for her very much. You are thrilling at this very moment with the remembrance of her lips to-night. Think of what life will be with her—life full of all that is sweet and fair—love and riches, and leisure for the highest art, and fame and the promise of immortality. ...
— The Grey Wig: Stories and Novelettes • Israel Zangwill

... honesty it is so celebrated for and so conceited about; and so help me, I do believe that if ever the day comes that its honesty falls under great temptation, its grand reputation will go to ruin like a house of cards. There, now, I've made confession, and I feel better; I am a humbug, and I've been one all my life, without knowing it. Let no man call me honest again—I will ...
— The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg • Mark Twain

... Fleet-street, June 6, 1780,' and adds:—'Mind this, and tell Queency [Miss Thrale].' Piozzi Letters, ii. 141. Miss Burney, who was with the Thrales, writes:—'Dr. Johnson has written to Mrs. Thrale, without even mentioning the existence of this mob; perhaps, at this very moment, he thinks it "a humbug upon the nation," as George Bodens called the Parliament.' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, i. 401. When Johnson wrote, the mob had not risen to its height of violence. Mrs. Thrale in her answer, giving the date, 'Bath, 3 o'clock on Saturday morning, June 10, 1780,' asks, 'Oh! my dear Sir, was I ever particular ...
— Life Of Johnson, Vol. 3 • Boswell, Edited by Birkbeck Hill

... younger man blankly, "what a ridiculous old humbug it is! And how he used to frighten me in the old days with his confounded cavalry bluster! I rather think I will look him up: and I'll dine with him three times a week if he likes. Meanwhile, it's time for me to go and meet old Rainham, ...
— A Comedy of Masks - A Novel • Ernest Dowson and Arthur Moore

... to forget. "The New Yorkers never forgave him," says your latest biographer; and one scarcely marvels at the inveteracy of their malice. It was not individual vanity alone, but the whole literary class that you assailed. "As a literary people," you wrote, "we are one vast perambulating humbug." After that declaration of war you died, and left your reputation to the vanities yet writhing beneath your scorn. They are writhing and writing still. He who knows them need not linger over the attacks and defences of your personal character; ...
— Letters to Dead Authors • Andrew Lang

... that Mr. Thackeray was coming, the public feeling on this side of the sea was very much divided as to his probable reception. "He'll come and humbug us, eat our dinners, pocket our money, and go home and abuse us, like that unmitigated snob Dickens," said Jonathan, chafing with the remembrance of that grand ball at the Park Theatre and the Boz tableaux, and the universal wining and dining, to which the distinguished ...
— Literary and Social Essays • George William Curtis

... the leaven of the Pharisees is still extant, and runs as follows: —Self-deceit 0.33 want of charity 0.5 outward show 0.33, humbug infinity, insert Sim or not as required. Reader, let each one who would seem to be righteous take unto ...
— Samuel Butler's Cambridge Pieces • Samuel Butler

... truth of such matters which is infinitely more satisfactory than that of his white brother. He knows just as well as any one what boasters all men are on matters relating to their own exploits, and especially those relating to war, and in order that there shall be no humbug about such matters, he will give no credence to any statement that is not accompanied by the most irrefragable proof. When a warrior comes home and says, "I killed six enemies on my last raid," he is confronted with the demand to produce his evidence, ...
— The History of Minnesota and Tales of the Frontier • Charles E. Flandrau

... "Ther's a deal o' humbug i' this world," Sarah sed, when th' woman wor gooan, "awm glad he's getten catched at last, aw mak nowt o' sich decaitful fowk, robbin' poor people o' ther brass,—it's little enuff 'at we can finger honestly nah a days. ...
— Yorkshire Tales. Third Series - Amusing sketches of Yorkshire Life in the Yorkshire Dialect • John Hartley

... and priest-ridden part of the people. On the other side, there was a small party of the more liberal minded, who supported the French, because they had abolished the Inquisition, and all the old monastic humbug with which the country had been cursed for so many ages. Joseph Buonaparte, who had been made King of Spain, but who had been obliged to retreat from Madrid, was now restored by Napoleon, who entered Spain at the head of ...
— Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. Volume 2 • Henry Hunt

... inside him at the thought of being deceived, and which snarled for blood in the presence of betrayal. And Pascualo laughed a shrill high-strung laugh! Pardon! Forgiveness! What a cowardly whimperer that other Rector was! See how the imbecile had sniffled at a lot of humbug memories back there near the tavern of sina Tona! Lanudo! Just the name for a coward like that! Fine sentiments those had been to justify a man without the guts to protect his own dignity as a man! Such stuff might ...
— Mayflower (Flor de mayo) • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... me tell you that the world has very little to give. What can I do? Where can I turn? Oriel, if there be an empty, lying humbug in the world, it is the theory of high birth and pure blood which some of us endeavour to maintain. Blood, indeed! If my father had been a baker, I should know by this time where to look for my livelihood. As it is, I am told of nothing ...
— Doctor Thorne • Anthony Trollope

... you have not heard "Blind Tom" play. If not, you never heard a better performer. Like most people, of course, I was inclined to regard this wonderful prodigy as a wonderful humbug; but I assure you, that so far from this being the case, or any thing like it, Tom is as genuine an artist, and possesses as much (and, for any thing I can tell, a great deal more) musical talent or power, either as regards the execution of the compositions of others ...
— Music and Some Highly Musical People • James M. Trotter

... after that you had better not call me a humbug!" cried Lord Lambeth. "I have only been in town three weeks; but you must have been hiding away; I haven't seen ...
— An International Episode • Henry James

... magician, whose wand of humbug, like that of Aaron's, swallows up all others, not excepting that of divine Truth, I obey you! Mouton shall be summoned to my aid: he shall flourish, and my pen shall flourish in praise of his endless perfections. But, Barnstaple, what shall I ...
— Olla Podrida • Frederick Marryat

... "an innocent!"—this a girl who had no mind to be formed! In that presence he could not be cynical; could not speak of Nature as a mechanism, a lying humbug, as he had done to the man poet. He ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol 6 • 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

... such windfalls. It is probable that he never heard of such a thing, and that if he did, he would unhesitatingly cry out, "Humbug," at the first intimation of it. Besides, his voice was not capable of that modulation which a young lover, or a city parson can give it. Accustomed to cry aloud and spare not, he usually spoke as if ...
— Charlemont • W. Gilmore Simms

... put out his tongue at me in derision, I could not have felt more humiliated. I thought to myself—Serve me right for a sneaking humbug. . . . His eyes shone straight into my face, but I perceived it was not a mocking brightness. All at once he sprang into jerky agitation, like one of those flat wooden figures that are worked by a string. His arms went up, then came down with a slap. He became another ...
— Lord Jim • Joseph Conrad

... explained, pushing them across to him. "Ten-shilling ones. Poor Mr. Boult hates music. I heard him say once that he believed every one hated it, and that when they pretended to like it it was only affectation and humbug. What pleasure can he possibly get in giving us these tickets for which we may not even ...
— Mrs. Day's Daughters • Mary E. Mann

... adore Lady Kirkbank,' he said, confidentially. 'The dear soul never pretends to be any better than the rest of us. She gambles, and we all know she gambles; she pegs, and we all know she pegs; and she makes rather a boast of being up to her eyes in debt. No humbug about ...
— Phantom Fortune, A Novel • M. E. Braddon

... old humbug of sex superiority because she had seen it fall on its face to howl over a trodden worm, with the result that it discovered itself ...
— At a Winter's Fire • Bernard Edward J. Capes

... applauded, was pelted with a hailstorm of ridicule. He was an "impostor," a "ventriloquist," a "crank who says he can talk through a wire." The London Times alluded pompously to the telephone as the latest American humbug, and gave many profound reasons why speech could not be sent over a wire, because of the intermittent nature of the electric current. Almost all electricians—the men who were supposed to know—pronounced the telephone an impossible thing; and those who did not openly ...
— The History of the Telephone • Herbert N. Casson

... success. It was an argument that men had not as much common sense as they pretended to have, she said, or else they would see through Franklin B——'s absurd pretensions. "Even I can perceive that the man is a humbug," she continued. "In fact, any woman could. Why is he successful, then? Why has he an enormous practice? Why has he been sent to Congress? If it is because he has a majestic appearance and can talk a great deal, ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, October 1885 • Various

... who would show the picture of your future husband, tell the successful numbers in lotteries, and enable any despairing lover to secure the affections of his heart's idol," etc. Side by side with these creditable but legalized exhibitions, were flaming announcements of "the humbug of Spiritualism exposed by Herr Marvel," with a long list of all the astonishing feats which "this only genuine living wizard" would display for the benefit of the pious State where angelic ministry ...
— Buchanan's Journal of Man, May 1887 - Volume 1, Number 4 • Various

... It was awful humbug that the commandant reeled off to his silent audience—hypocrisy garbed in paternal phrases, and interlarded with buncombe about Germany's mission to bring happiness ...
— The Ivory Trail • Talbot Mundy

... YALLOBALLY RECORD.—"The humbug who had the folly and indecency to pick up the name of Napoleon second-hand at a sale of old pledges, has been thrashed and is a prisoner. Except the Army of the West, and the division on the Mar road, which is ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. XXII (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... 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

... interchanged on this occasion. At Reading the Marlborough of our tale made one of the safe investments of that day, he bought a Times and Punch; the latter full of steel-pen thrusts and woodcuts. Valor and beauty deigned to laugh at some inflamed humbug or other punctured by Punch. Now laughing together thaws our human ice; long before Swindon it was a talking match—at Swindon who so devoted as Captain Dolignan?—he handed them out—he souped them—he tough-chickened ...
— Stories of Comedy • Various

... game of politics was a game of compromises: something was deemed admirable now that had been hitherto almost execrable; and that which was utterly impossible to-day, if done last year would have been a triumphant success, and consequently he pronounced the whole thing an 'imposition and a humbug.' 'I can understand a right and a wrong as well as any man,' he would say, 'but I know nothing about things that are neither or both, according to who's in or who's out of the Cabinet. Give me the command of twelve thousand men, let me divide them into three flying columns, and if I don't keep ...
— Lord Kilgobbin • Charles Lever

... the most high and powerful lady, Madame le Marquise de Pompadour, maid of honour to the queen. She was in the school of all virtues," &c. The remainder of this most edifying discourse is lost in oblivion, but surely the force of humbug could no ...
— International Miscellany of Literature, Art and Science, Vol. 1, - No. 3, Oct. 1, 1850 • Various

... sitting among the fat ones. Reichstag was nothing but a club of heavy-weights. All were eager to have the ministers tickle them under the arms; that meant some service to be rendered, and this again brought marks of honor and perhaps a decoration. Everything was humbug. Workingmen should help themselves and throw out all that reactionary mob, army, clergy and aristocracy; otherwise there could be no change for ...
— The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries - Masterpieces of German Literature Vol. 19 • Various

... papers this morning. In the Figaro an article from that old humbug Villemessant. He calls upon his fellow-citizens in Paris to resist to ...
— Diary of the Besieged Resident in Paris • Henry Labouchere

... Called Peter." (It is). Mr. Keable, a minister from Africa, wrote of the war as he saw it in France, and in a way which offended people with mental blinders. He declares that the war quite completely knocked humbug on the head and bashed shams irreparably. "Rebels," says he, meaning those who speak their mind and write of things as they see them, "must be drowned ...
— Nonsenseorship • G. G. Putnam

... with a view to tricking the people into entrusting them with power. The only possible way by which politicians as a class can be improved is the political and psychological education of the people, so that they may learn to detect a humbug. In England men have reached the point of suspecting a good speaker, but if a man speaks badly they think he must be honest. Unfortunately, virtue is not so widely diffused ...
— The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism • Bertrand Russell

... drawn up on the V. A green, and the afternoon went by in a whirl of happiness. They rolled out arm in arm for the prize-giving. For the last time Gordon saw the whole staff sitting on "their dais serene." He looked at the row of faces. There was Rogers puffed out with pride; Christy, pharisee and humbug, superbly satisfied with himself. Finnemore sat in the background, a pale grey shadow, that had been too weak to get to grips with life at all. Trundle nursed his chin, twittering in a haze of indecision. Ferrers ...
— The Loom of Youth • Alec Waugh

... not the spirit of idle restlessness—it is the fire of the love of truth that burns in you, and clearly, in spite of your failings; it burns in you more hotly than in many who do not consider themselves egoists and dare to call you a humbug perhaps. I, for one, in your place should long ago have succeeded in silencing that worm in me, and should have given in to everything; and you have not even been embittered by it, Dmitri. You are ready, I am sure, to-day, to set to some new work ...
— Rudin • Ivan Turgenev

... he has the absolute confidence and help of his Government, and it is really marvellous how much he has been able to do to further Russian influence in Persia. There is no trickery, no intrigue, no humbug about it; but it is mere frank, open competition in which the stronger nation will ...
— Across Coveted Lands - or a Journey from Flushing (Holland) to Calcutta Overland • Arnold Henry Savage Landor

... be all that would appear or exist. Every noble and every mean and every mixed exhibition of character,—every act of munificence and of baseness,—every narrative of thrilling or romantic interest,—every instance and example of popular delusion, humbug, man-worship, breach of trust, domestic infelicity, and of cunning or astounding depravity and hypocrisy,—every religious, social, and political excitement,—every panic,—and every accident even, from carelessness ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, Issue 49, November, 1861 • Various

... tremendous old humbug, you don't mean to say you'll make fifty pounds before we are out of our beds in the morning?" ...
— The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer, Vol. 2 • Charles James Lever

... no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said, "Bah!" again; and followed it up with "Humbug." ...
— Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 6 • Charles H. Sylvester

... 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. ...
— Elster's Folly • Mrs. Henry Wood

... considerable difficulty about from the part which we have both taken. With respect to the Finance plan, I feel convinced that it must end where it ought to have begun, in an appropriation of part of the Sinking Fund, and that this will be done with more or less disguise and humbug, but that no regard for consistency will be sufficient to prevent a measure ...
— Memoirs of the Court of George IV. 1820-1830 (Vol 1) - From the Original Family Documents • Duke of Buckingham and Chandos

... been here twenty-four hours," he said. "I have looked you up at the first opportunity. Now am I a nuisance? Be frank! I told the servant that if you were at work you weren't to be disturbed. Don't humbug about it; if I am ...
— A Chair on The Boulevard • Leonard Merrick

... "Oh, stop this humbug," interrupted Newall angrily. "You can see what Percival's up to. He's trying to white-wash Moncrief, who's too big a funk to come ...
— The Hero of Garside School • J. Harwood Panting

... is unanswered to this day, though Hardy afterwards suggests it is another name for a humbug. ...
— Charles Dickens and Music • James T. Lightwood

... that the king should be duped by a palpable humbug," I remarked, supposing that George would agree with me. But, no! He turned on me ...
— The Touchstone of Fortune • Charles Major

... any one to suspect your connection with Lucien, you may as well blow his brains out at once. You will be asked where you have been for so long. You must say that you have been traveling with a desperately jealous Englishman.—You used to have wit enough to humbug people. Find such wit ...
— Scenes from a Courtesan's Life • Honore de Balzac

... upon their residence at the university as three or four years to be devoted to smoking, beer-drinking, and scratching one another's faces in duels. These duels, by the by, are pieces of the most intense humbug that can be imagined. They take place now in the large room of the inn at Ziegelhausen, a village on the banks of the Neckar, about two miles from Heidelberg, and are fought with straight swords, ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 343, May 1844 • Various

... While I loved her, I was entirely hers; I never thought of the future, and everything, my whole life, I shared with her ... now this passion has died out in me.... Well, you would tell me to be a humbug, to play at being in love, wouldn't you? But what for? from pity for her? If she's a decent girl, she won't care for such charity herself, but if she is glad to be consoled by my ... my sympathy, well, she's ...
— The Diary of a Superfluous Man and Other Stories • Ivan Turgenev

... for the trial of the unknown device, and the boys separated with their curiosity on tiptoe as to the nature of the other improved method of swimming. They had no idea that it was a humbug, for "Ben" never practised sham. He was so much of a genius that, no doubt, he had something that ...
— From Boyhood to Manhood • William M. Thayer

... many objects of real interest, particularly to the naturalist and geologist, intermingled with a great deal that is spurious and contemptible. But this museum is by no means the attraction to this "Palace of Humbug." ...
— The Englishwoman in America • Isabella Lucy Bird

... experience may be of value to you. What is comprised under the head of philosophical research will never aid or satisfy you. I am an old man, Beulah, and have studied philosophic works for many years; but, take my word for it, the mass of them are sheer humbug. From the beginning of the world philosophers have been investigating the countless mysteries which present themselves to every earnest mind; but the arcana are as inscrutable now as ever. I do not ...
— Beulah • Augusta J. Evans

... earth am I to do?" asked Pembury of Tom Senior one day; "I've not got a single contribution yet. There's you making out you're too busy, and Rick the same. It's all humbug, I know! What are you busy at I'd like to know? I never saw ...
— The Fifth Form at Saint Dominic's - A School Story • Talbot Baines Reed

... business, and he will starve if he neglects it. So have I felt that, when anything in the shape of a novel was required, I was bound to produce it. Nothing can be more distasteful to me than to have to give a relish of Christmas to what I write. I feel the humbug implied by the nature of the order. A Christmas story, in the proper sense, should be the ebullition of some mind anxious to instil others with a desire for Christmas religious thought, or Christmas festivities,—or, better still, with Christmas charity. ...
— Autobiography of Anthony Trollope • Anthony Trollope

... 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. ...
— Life of Lord Byron, Vol. IV - With His Letters and Journals • Thomas Moore

... of Oz was announced, and a dried-up, little, old man, clothed all in black, entered the drawing-room. His face was cheery and his eyes twinkling with humor, so Polly and Button-Bright were not at all afraid of the wonderful personage whose fame as a humbug magician had spread throughout the world. After greeting Dorothy with much affection, he stood modestly behind Ozma's throne and listened to the lively prattle ...
— The Road to Oz • L. Frank Baum

... 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 ...
— Watersprings • Arthur Christopher Benson

... said Yates. "Of course Renmark went out there merely to show the difference between the ant and the butterfly. You'll find out what a humbug he is by and by, Mrs. Bartlett. He looks ...
— In the Midst of Alarms • Robert Barr

... always carries people off their feet. People are used to the mask of conventional good conduct. He goes in for eccentric good-nature. You expect a Don Juan to dress up as a solemn and solid Spanish merchant; but you're not prepared when he dresses up as Don Quixote. You expect a humbug to behave like Sir Charles Grandison; because (with all respect, Miss Hunt, for the deep, tear-moving tenderness of Samuel Richardson) Sir Charles Grandison so often behaved like a humbug. But no real red-blooded citizen is quite ready for a humbug that models himself not on ...
— Manalive • G. K. Chesterton

... be up awful early, and pick the last cherries off that tree. I wanted to get ahead of him, so I sneaked down before light to humbug him, for I was going a-fishing, and we have to be off ...
— Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Vol. 5 - Jimmy's Cruise in the Pinafore, Etc. • Louisa M. Alcott

... My sister's nerves are a bit upset.... After all, this parlour magic is a stupid mistake, because there's always somebody who takes it seriously. It's only humbug, anyway; you know that, ...
— The Firing Line • Robert W. Chambers

... would be a relief to him." ... "Froude is staying up, and I see a great deal of him." ... "Froude is most enthusiastic in his plans, and says, 'What fun it is living in such times as these! how could one now go back to the times of old Tory humbug?'" From henceforth his position among his friends was that of the most impatient and aggressive of reformers, the one who most urged on his fellows to outspoken language and a bold line of action. They were not men to hang back and be afraid, but they were cautious and considerate of popular alarms ...
— The Oxford Movement - Twelve Years, 1833-1845 • R.W. Church

... compelled to witness a regular procession of officials whom the "man of God" appointed, in accordance with value received. Even Goremykin was compelled to bow before the mystic humbug. Rasputin for five years caused to be appointed or dismissed all the bishops, and woe betide any person who attempted to interfere with ...
— The Minister of Evil - The Secret History of Rasputin's Betrayal of Russia • William Le Queux

... You think he's going, to guess that snake's riddles. Rot! Stuff and nonsense! Humbug! Get ...
— Turandot, Princess of China - A Chinoiserie in Three Acts • Karl Gustav Vollmoeller



Words linked to "Humbug" :   tosh, bunk, goldbrick, cozen, drool, jargon, bosh, hoax, chicanery, put-on, meaninglessness, twaddle, delude, misrepresentation, argot, vernacular, cant, taradiddle, lead on, chicane, snake oil, fraud, wile, dupery, fraudulence, shenanigan



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