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Poppycock

Poppycock is a word that originated in the United States in the mid-1800s, though England embraced the word soon after. We’ll look at the meaning of the word poppycock, its origins, how it is used today. We’ll offer a few examples.

Poppycock means nonsense, rubbish, something that is ridiculous or nonsensical. Poppycock comes to us from Dutch immigrants to America who brought with them the word pappekak, which reputedly means soft dung. As one may imagine, the term lost its original dung meaning in its transformation into the word poppycock. Little did the ladies of the Victorian Era realize that the innocent word, poppycock, had such improper origins. During the mid-1800s the American press coined many nonsense words such as poppycock, but this particular word quickly made its way across the ocean to the British Isles. Poppycock! was often used in conversation as an exclamation of disagreement at the turn of the twentieth century. Today, the term poppycock is seen only occasionally, and is rarely heard in conversation or seen in literature unless it is used to convey that the speaker is expressing a certain degree of old-fashionedness.


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Examples

And while “Notorious” (Sept. 22) will plant its flag in the Shonda Rimes-ruled landscape of ABC’s Thursday lineup, this dismal poppycock (a hunky defense attorney joins forces with a hot TV producer to promote their respective professional interests) may succeed primarily by exposing how hard it is to pull off what Rimes does so well. (The New Pittsburgh Courier)

He called the idea that anyone forced Griffith to stop praying — privately or publicly — “poppycock.” (The Dallas Morning News)

Alderman Rosemarie Trester called the legal challenges “poppycock” and said the public should have a say in how many aldermen are on the council. (The Sheboygan Press)

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