What the “Bah, humbug!” What does it really mean?

In Charles Dickens’s Tales of 1843 “A Christmas Carol“Ebenezer Scrooge exclaimed” Bah! Humbug! “Related to Christmas. Since he famously hates vacations, it’s easy to assume “Humbug!” is just an expression used to express a dislike for something that is popular. In fact, thanks to the cultural impact of Victorian Christmas classic, that’s how humbug is commonly used today. Can you describe someone who has an unpleasant attitude toward Marvel Cinematic Universe if they often whine about the way it is superhero movie “not a real movie theater”, for example.

But Scrooge did not originate the term humbug – and what he meant more specifically was “I hate Christmas!” when he uttered it.

Humbug first appeared in writing in a 1750 issue of “The Student, or Oxford and Cambridge Monthly Miscellany, “where it is described as” a word that is very popular with people with taste and fashion. . . though it doesn’t even mean how much. “In short, it seems to be a trendy slang word coined by the trendy kids of the era, and etymology is still unclear. That said, humbug has been used widely enough that its definition is, at least, unambiguous. Follow Oxford English Dictionary, it refers to “a hoax; a hoax or spoof”, as well as any “thing that is not really what it pretends to be”, like a spoof or scam. Eventually, people started using it with a general sense of nonsense.

When Scrooge repeatedly calls Christmas “humbug,” it’s because he believes the holiday fits the bill in more ways than one. He argues that Christmas tricks people into feeling joyful and grateful when they have nothing to feel joyful or grateful for. “What reason do you have to be happy? You’re poor enough,” he tell his grandson. Scrooge also notes that society uses Christmas as an excuse to steal money from the rich: He refuses to donate to Christmas collections for the needy, insisting that they should seek help from existing organizations and hire the poor. . Soon after, Scrooge complained about having to pay his employee, Bob Cratchit, for the day off. “A poor excuse to pickpocket men every twenty-fifth of December!” he says.

Essentially, Dickens’ anti-heroism sees Christmas as a financial and emotional swindle on a global scale – a joke any way you cut it off. The only way Scrooge doesn’t use the word humbug is to refer to the striped, mint-flavored hard candy of the same name. (Those other things maybug dates to at least the 1820s in England, so it’s possible that Scrooge was familiar with them, too.)

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https://www.salon.com/2021/12/25/what-does-bah-humbug-actually-mean_partner/ What the “Bah, humbug!” What does it really mean?

Huynh Nguyen

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