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  1. Counterfeit or fake; not genuine.
  2. Undesirable or harmful.
  3. Incorrect, useless, or broken.
    bogus laws


First attested from 1797, as underworld term for counterfeit coins. Meaning of the machine (known as a bogus press) was first attested 1828. Sense of phony paper money as well as a general adjective applied to anything, being less valuable than it first appeared was first attested 1848. Later, the word was applied to anything of poor quality. The current use to mean useless is probably from the slang of computer hackers.

The origin is unknown, but there are at least two theories that try to trace its origin:

  • From Hausa boko, to fake. Since bogus first appeared in the USA, this may be possible that its ancestor was brought there on a slave ship.
  • From criminal slang as a short form of tantrabogus, a 19th century slang term for a menacing object, making some believe that bogus might be linked to bogy or bogey (see bogeyman). In this sense, Bogus might be related to Bogle - a traditional trickster from the Scottish Borders, noted for achieving acts of household trickery; confusing, but not usually damaging.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Bogus" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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