Bah Humbug! A phrase doubtless heard over the festive period and one which instantly brings to mind Charles Dickens and his classic A Christmas Carol. Beginning as slang used by students, usage has varied over the years.
As with just about every slang term the origins are unclear, although there are always a number of individuals willing to offer their suggestions.
This is why it could be derived from Norse hum bugges ‘night apparitions’; Middle English hum bugge ‘deceitful bogeyman’; Italian uomo bugiardo ‘lying man’; Irish uim bog ‘soft copper’ (i.e. worthless money); related to ‘Hamburg’, known for minting false coinage; or ‘humming bug’, something as inconsequential as an insect.
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