Origins of Common Words - Bunk
About the history, origins, and definitions of the common word bunk.
UNCOMMON STORIES BEHIND COMMON WORDS
Bunk - When a congressman mails his constituents reprints from the Congressional Record containing a speech he has delivered in the House or Senate, he's really sending round a lot of bunk. A corruption of Buncombe, the word bunkum, or bunk, originated in the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 25, 1820, in the closing minutes of the historic debate on the Missouri compromise. An old mountaineer named Felix Walker (but commonly referred to as "Old Oil Jug" because of his garrulousness) represented the district of North Carolina that included Buncombe County. At the point at which the House was virtually unanimous in demanding a vote on the question, Walker insisted that his constituents expected him to speak on the Compromise. He must, therefore, "make a speech for Buncombe." The current Annals of Congress reported that "the question was called for so clamorously and so persistently that Mr. Walker could proceed no further than to move that the Committee rise." Before long, "talking for Buncombe" was accepted terminology, and humbug, bombastic political talk intended for the galleries, became labeled as just a lot of "bunk."
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