Remarkable Words: Malarkey

I love the word ‘malarkey’. Every now and then I wonder where a word comes from and this is such a peculiar word, I thought I’d google the bastard.

The Oxford Dictionary describes it as:


Definition of malarkey in English:


Meaningless talk: nonsense: don’t give me that malarkey


It’s a word I do use, but I am sure I use it a little wrongly. I tend to say: What kind of malarkey is that? In my mind it means silly nonsense, I suppose. Not normal nonsense, silly, ridiculous nonsense. Not quite what the Oxford Dic says.

Its origins seem somewhat murky. Several websites I checked believe it to have originated in the US in the 1920s. It looks like an American English word to be sure, but I don’t associate it with Americanism (is that a word?).

Apparently Joe Biden (US Vice-President) used the word a few years back and claimed it had Irish origins. It could be, lots of folk of Irish descent in the US of A, so quite possible.

Anyway, after consulting Google, I am no closer to knowing where the word comes from. It may well remain a mystery. All I know I have been using it for years and will probably continue to do so, even if I probably use it incorrectly!