That great symbol of Buncombe County, showing a lot of smoke being blown from behind the mountains, appeared on the Merriam-Webster website in a list of ten words that describe what one hears from behind the dais. An etymology was thrown in with an extra sentence us Yankees didn’t get in our North Carolina history classes:

Bunkum was born in American politics. In 1820, North Carolina Representative Felix Walker gave a particularly long and wearisome speech that contributed little to the matter at hand. The politician defended his speech on the grounds that he was speaking for the people in his county.