Humbug (sweet)

Humbug (sweet)
Mint humbugs

Humbugs are a traditional hard boiled sweet available in the United Kingdom,[1] Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They are usually flavoured with peppermint[2] and striped in two different colours (often brown and tan). They have a hard outside and a soft toffee centre.[1] Humbugs are typically cylinders with rounded ends wrapped in a twist of cellophane,[citation needed] or else pinched cylinders with a 90-degree turn between one end and the other (shaped like a pyramid with rounded edges), loose in a bag.[2] Records of humbugs exist from as early as the 1820s and they are referred to in the 1863 book Sylvia's Lovers as being a food from the North.[3]

They are more often eaten in winter than summer.[citation needed] The name of the sweet is not related to the phrase "Bah, humbug" derived from Dickens' A Christmas Carol. That expression implies a general dissatisfaction with the Christmas season. However, offering humbugs around Christmas time is now seen by some as humorous or ironic, and was featured in an episode of Blackadder in this manner.



A mixture of sugar, glycerine, colour and flavouring is heated to 145°C. This is then poured out and stretched and folded many times. The stripes originate from a smaller piece of coloured mixture which is folded in to the main mixture. The mixture is finally rolled in to a long, thin cylinder and sliced into segments.[4]

Bulls eyes


A similar sweet is "bulls-eye" which has black and white stripes like a humbug but is spherical like an aniseed ball. These are peppermint flavoured and are also known as bullets in the UK as they are similar in size to smoothbore musket balls.[citation needed]

See also


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Humbug (disambiguation) — Humbug may refer to:* Humbug, an exclamation is closer to nonsense, gibberish * Humbug (Aboriginal), a slang term meaning begging in certain Aboriginal communities in Australia * Humbug, Arizona, a ghost town in the southern Bradshaw Mountains of …   Wikipedia

  • humbug — ► NOUN 1) deceptive or false talk or behaviour. 2) a hypocrite. 3) Brit. a boiled peppermint sweet. ► VERB (humbugged, humbugging) ▪ deceive; trick. DERIVATIVES humbugge …   English terms dictionary

  • humbug — [[t]hʌ̱mbʌg[/t]] humbugs 1) N UNCOUNT (disapproval) If you describe someone s language or behaviour as humbug, you mean that it is dishonest or insincere. There was all the usual humbug and obligatory compliments from ministers... Britain s laws… …   English dictionary

  • humbug — /ˈhʌmbʌg / (say humbug) noun 1. Obsolete a deluding trick; a hoax; a fraud. 2. a quality of falseness or deception. 3. someone who seeks to impose deceitfully upon others; cheat; impostor. 4. Aboriginal English an annoying action: stop that… …   Australian English dictionary

  • humbug — UK [ˈhʌmbʌɡ] / US [ˈhʌmˌbʌɡ] noun Word forms humbug : singular humbug plural humbugs 1) a) [uncountable] behaviour or talk that is not sincere b) [countable] someone whose talk or behaviour is not sincere 2) [countable] a type of hard black and… …   English dictionary

  • humbug — hum|bug [ˈhʌmbʌg] n 1.) [U] insincere or dishonest words or behaviour ▪ He dismissed the Prime Minister s comments as pure humbug . 2.) BrE a hard sweet made from boiled sugar, usually with a ↑peppermint taste 3.) old fashioned someone who behav …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • humbug — noun 1》 deceptive or false talk or behaviour.     ↘a hypocrite. 2》 Brit. a boiled peppermint sweet. verb (humbugs, humbugging, humbugged) deceive; trick. Derivatives humbuggery noun Origin C18: of unknown origin …   English new terms dictionary

  • humbug — noun 1 (U) insincere words or behaviour, especially pretending to feel shocked or disapprove of something 2 (U) old fashioned someone who pretends to be someone they are not, or to have qualities or opinions they do not have 3 (C) BrE a sweet… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • humbug — n. & v. n. 1 deceptive or false talk or behaviour. 2 an impostor. 3 Brit. a hard boiled sweet usu. flavoured with peppermint. v. (humbugged, humbugging) 1 intr. be or behave like an impostor. 2 tr. deceive, hoax. Derivatives: humbuggery n.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • humbuggery — humbug ► NOUN 1) deceptive or false talk or behaviour. 2) a hypocrite. 3) Brit. a boiled peppermint sweet. ► VERB (humbugged, humbugging) ▪ deceive; trick. DERIVATIVES humbugge …   English terms dictionary

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