Few are the words whose origins we know for certain, but “bunk” is one of them. From the mountains of North Carolina to the halls of Congress to everyday language, Martha scoops the skinny:

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  1. James L. Bown says:

    Good to hear Martha again. An that is no bunk. Did the originators of “All In The Family” use this word in naming the main character Archie “Bunker”? or was it just a ooincidence? and how did Bunk make its way into golfing terminology with the “bunker” word. I find it interesting how a word leads to other words by accident or design? Or both…

  2. martha says:

    James, thank you! Well, it would be nicely Dickensian if arch-conservative Archie Bunker’s name reflected his personality, no? Offhand, I’m not sure how Bunk is used in golfing terminology. Tell me!

  3. Jim says:

    Well, you did a good job of debunking Martha, but what of the theory on the web (and now in a book) by Dennis Cassidy that Bunkum really comes from an Irish word Buanchumadh which Cassidy insists is, “(pron. buan’cumah), perpetual invention, endless composition (of a story, poem, or song), a long made-up story, fig. a shaggy dog tale.”


    Personally, I think it’s bunk.

  4. Yes, Jim, that’s the problem with most of Daniel Cassidy’s book. It’s mostly bunk. I have a copy of the book, I’ve seen his theories when they’ve been posted to the email list of the American Dialect Society, and I’ve communicated with him privately. As others have said repeatedly elsewhere, the book is rife with errors, unsubstantiated assumptions, and poor scholarship.

  5. Edward Cramer says:

    Can I claim didjagoogleit? I’ve googled it. No hits.

  6. Edmund says:

    It’s astonishing to me that the e-mailers don’t know of the WWII use of the word for the Fuhrer Bunker below the Eagle’s Nest in the Obersaltzburg, the SS Bunker tower, still standing in Munich, the crime-syndicate VP Cheney Bunker in Wyoming.

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