Word Routes: “Bunch of Malarkey”

English: Paul Ryan, Member of the U.S. House o...

English: Paul Ryan, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Official portrait of Vice President of the Uni...

Official portrait of Vice President of the United States . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Last nights Vice-Presidential Debate left a lot of folks who love words wondering where the phrase “Bunch of Malarkey” came from. Well, this morning, as fate would have it, Ben Zimmer of The Boston Globe answered the question.

Vice President Joe Biden used the phrase “Bunch of Malarkey” once and the word malarkey once. After each incidence a little chuckling from yours truly — good zinger I thought!  Mr. Zimmer wrote: “Obama administration’s handling of last month’s attacks in Benghazi he told Ryan, “With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey.” And then later, Biden euphemistically called Ryan’s rhetoric “a bunch of stuff” before clarifying, “We Irish call it malarkey.”
I have to tell you that I love this stuff....a real political nut-job here but respectfully have kept my pants up ‘until now’ and not dumped all over my blog about the political menagerie of stuff I could blog about. You can thank me later…..but…..

…..Now, just for a little fun you can watch Biden deliver his zingers:

Here’s the video link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/malarkey-joe-biden_n_1960069.html to put into your browser …. enjoy!


Ben Zimmer is executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com. He is language columnist for The Boston Globe and the former “On Language” columnist for The New York Times Magazine. He has worked as editor for American dictionaries at Oxford University Press and as a consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary. In addition to his regular “Word Routes” column here, he contributes to the group weblog Language Log. He is also the chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society. Click here to read more articles by Ben Zimmer.



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