October 11, 2012

A bunch of malarkey

If you followed tonight's debate of the two nominees for Vice President, John Biden and Paul Ryan, you agree that the word of the evening was "marlarkey," as in "With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey." Politico.com shows that Joe Biden seems rather fond of this word. He thinks it reflects his Irish identity: "We Irish call it malarkey.”

Alas, the word is considered an Americanism and was first recorded in the 1920s. Its supposed Irish origin? Pure malarkey, at least according to the OED:
Etymology:  Origin unknown. A surname Mullarkey , of Irish origin, exists, but no connection is known between any person of that name and this word. 

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