transitive verb de·bunked
To expose or ridicule the falseness, sham, or exaggerated claims of: debunk a supposed miracle drug.
Related Forms:Word History:
One can readily see that debunk
is constructed from the prefix de-,
meaning “to remove,” and the word bunk.
But what is the origin of the word bunk,
denoting the nonsense that is to be removed? Bunk
came from a place where much bunk has originated, the United States Congress. During the 16th Congress (1819-1821) Felix Walker, a representative from western North Carolina whose district included Buncombe County, carried on with a dull speech in the face of protests by his colleagues. Walker later explained he had felt obligated “to make a speech for Buncombe.” Such a masterful symbol for empty talk could not be ignored by the speakers of the language, and Buncombe,
in its first recorded appearance in 1828 and later shortened to bunk,
became synonymous with claptrap.
The response to all this bunk seems to have been delayed, for debunk
is not recorded until 1923.