Balderdash – Origin, Meaning & Definition

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Balderdash is one of those weird words we’ve all heard and probably even used before. But I’m betting no one really knows the true meaning or even its origins. I did some digging and will explain the definition and right way to use this quirky term so you can be more confident when using it.

Balderdash Meaning

Balderdash means nonsense or gibberish, something that is absurd or meaningless. It can also refer to a mixture of words and sounds that are jumbled together and make no sense. It appears in the sixteenth century to refer to a light, frothy liquid of mixed liquors.

In 1984, the board game called Balderdash was released to the world. It’s a fun game where the players supply definitions for obscure words, sometimes the correct definition, and sometimes a definition that is balderdash. It seems a fitting name for the game.

Etymology of Balderdash

The etymology of the word “balderdash” is muddy. But some people say it might have originated in the mid-17th century.

There is an old Danish word balder, which basically means a lot of noise or clatter.

The origin of balderdash is unclear, but it has been used in the English language to mean nonsense or gibberish for several centuries. I’m sure you’ve probably even used the term yourself more than once.

Is Balderdash a Real Word?

It sure is, although it sounds like, well, totally balderdash! But, yes, the term is found in the dictionary and is a widely accepted word worldwide.

In fact, I heard my elderly father using the word a few months back when he asked my kiddos what they wanted for Christmas. They went on to explain details about their favorite video games until my dad finally shook his head and said, “It all sounds like a bunch of balderdash to me.”

How to Pronounce Balderdash

When sounding out the syllable for the word balderdash, it sounds like baal-dr-dash.

Synonyms for Balderdash

  • Nonsense
  • Gibberish
  • Rubbish
  • Hogwash

How Do You Use Balderdash in a Sentence?

I love coming up with sentence examples to show people how to use certain words properly. I’m a firm believer that context is everything. So hopefully, these examples help you to understand the obscure word better.

  • His claim that he could run a marathon in under two hours is just pure balderdash.
  • I can’t believe she expects us to believe that story; it’s just a bunch of balderdash.
  • My dad sometimes has difficulty with balderdash things like technology.
  • The rumors about aliens landing on earth are nothing but balderdash.
  • The politician’s promises were nothing but balderdash, just empty words to gain votes.
  • His explanation for why he was late was complete balderdash; I could tell he was lying.

Never mind the psychological balderdash. (The New York Times)

Balderdash Isn’t Balderdash!

It’s definitely a real word you can use in conversation and any writing you might do. It’s fun, colorful, and adds character to whatever you’re talking about. But now you know the real meaning behind it!