History is bunk


      • disregard or dismiss the importance of history
        to express the belief that history is unimportant or irrelevant

    Examples of History is bunk

    • Some people believe that textbooks and traditional history lessons do not accurately reflect the past, and instead advocate for a more critical or alternative approach to learning about history. This perspective can be referred to as "History is bunk," a phrase coined byAmerican historian and social critic, Margaret Mead.

      The expression "History is bunk" suggests that conventional accounts of history, as presented in traditional textbooks or classroom settings, are outdated, irrelevant, or overly simplistic. Critics of this mainstream approach argue that it tends to ignore important social, political, and cultural factors, and instead focuses narrowly on facts and dates. They call for more nuanced and interpretive approaches to history that take into account multiple perspectives and encourage critical thinking. The phrase "History is bunk" can also be interpreted more broadly as a rejection of the idea that the past can be objectively studied or understood, and instead highlights the subjective and constructed nature of historical knowledge.


    The idiom "history is bunk" is used to convey a dismissive attitude towards the value of history. It is often used to imply that historical events or knowledge have no significance or relevance to the present or future. The intention behind using this idiom is to undermine the importance of learning from past events and to discourage consideration of historical context in decision-making or understanding the world.

    The phrase is typically used in a negative and critical manner, and it is often employed to express frustration or impatience with discussions or teachings about history. It can be used to discourage others from dwelling on past events or to assert that historical knowledge holds no practical value. Overall, the idiom serves to downplay the significance of history in various contexts.

    Origin of "History is bunk"

    The idiom "history is bunk" is attributed to Henry Ford, the American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company. Ford used this phrase in a 1916 interview with a Chicago Tribune reporter, expressing his skepticism towards the relevance of history. The word "bunk" in this context refers to something that is nonsense or of little value. Ford's statement reflected his belief in focusing on the present and future rather than dwelling on historical matters. The phrase has since become a popular idiom used to dismiss the importance of history in various discussions and debates. Its origin in Ford's outspoken views on the subject has contributed to its enduring use in contemporary language.