1. out-and-out nonsense; bunkum.
2. elements of low comedy introduced into a play, novel, etc., for the laughs they may bring.
3. sentimental matter of an elementary or stereotyped kind introduced into a play or the like.
4. false or irrelevant material introduced into a speech, essay, etc., in order to arouse interest, excitement, or amusement.
But American campaign biographies still follow a script written nearly two centuries ago. East of piffle and west of hokum , the Boy from Hope always grows up to be the Man of the People.
— Jill Lepore , “Bound for Glory,” The New Yorker , 2008
Probably nowhere else do the popular playmakers of Broadway reveal their imaginative shortcomings so clearly as in the employment of what is known colloquially as hokum.
— George Jean Nathan , Comedians All , 1919
Hokum emerged as theater slang in the US in the early 1900s and is thought to be a blend of hocus-pocus and bunkum .