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Bumpkin

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  • Bumpkin is a term that is surprisingly old, going back to the late 1500s. We will examine the definition of the term bumpkin, where  it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

    A bumpkin is a person from a rural area who is naive, uneducated and awkward due to his lack of sophistication. Calling someone a bumpkin is an insult. Often, the word bumpkin is used in the phrase country bumpkin which is redundant, as a bumpkin is understood to be from the country. The term bumpkin comes from one of two Dutch words. The first possible origin is the word boomken, which means stumpy tree. The second possibility is the word bommekijn, which means little barrel. Bumpkin was a word used by the English as a pejorative to describe Dutch people. In the late 1500s and 1600s the British and the Dutch were less than friendly, as they sparred over trade routes and political boundaries.

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    Examples

    Jim Nabors, a comic actor who found fame in the role of the amiable bumpkin Gomer Pyle in two hit television shows of the 1960s while pursuing a second career as a popular singer with a booming baritone voice, died on Thursday at his home in Honolulu. He was 87. (The New York Times)

    Confronting the wider ills he saw in the social contract, Hardy’s Jude is by turns anti-hero and bumpkin, his optimism spoiled at every turn by a conventional order determined to keep him in his place, his neighbors convinced he’s better as a bricklayer than he might be as a baccalaureate. (Petoskey News-Review)

    Eighteen years later, however, the 62-year-old is a confirmed country bumpkin, so much so that he has even written a book about his experiences. (The Daily Express)

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