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Aug 4, 2017
This week’s theme
Places that became verbs

This week’s words
birminghamize
barbados
solecize
locarnize
debunk

James Randi
James Randi, a debunker of spoon bending, paranormal, supernatural, and pseudoscience (b. 7 Aug 1928)
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

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This week’s toponyms on a map
Map: Google Maps

This week’s comments
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Next week’s theme
Words related to medicine
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

debunk

PRONUNCIATION:
(di-BUNGK)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To expose the falseness of a claim, myth, belief, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Buncombe, a county in North Carolina. In 1820, Felix Walker, a representative from that area, made a pointless speech in the US Congress. While his colleagues in Congress urged him to stop and move to vote on an issue, Walker claimed that he had to make a speech “for Buncombe”. Eventually, “Buncombe” became a synonym for meaningless speech, became shortened to “bunkum”, and then to “bunk”. And if there’s bunk, it’s one’s duty to debunk. Earliest documented use: 1923.

USAGE:
“They used science to debunk myth and the paranormal -- to keep humanity safe from the real monsters.”
Michele Hauf; Taming the Hunter; Harlequin; 2017.

See more usage examples of debunk in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
To be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. -Barack Obama, 44th US President (b. 4 Aug 1961)

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