Bun"combe, Bun"kum (?), n. [Buncombe a country of North Carolina.]
Speech-making for the gratification of constituents, or to gain public applause; flattering talk for a selfish purpose; anything said for mere show. [Cant or Slang, U.S.]
All that flourish about right of search was bunkum -- all that brag about hanging your Canada sheriff was bunkum . . . slavery speeches are all bunkum.
To speak for Buncombe, to speak for mere show, or popularly.
⇒ "The phrase originated near the close of the debate on the famous 'Missouri Question,' in the 16th Congress. It was then used by Felix Walker -- a naive old mountaineer, who resided at Waynesville, in Haywood, the most western country of North Carolina, near the border of the adjacent country of Buncombe, which formed part of his district. The old man rose to speak, while the house was impatiently calling for the 'Question,' and several members gathered round him, begging him to desist. He preserved, however, for a while, declaring that the people of his district expected it, and that he was bound to 'make a speech for Buncombe.'" W. Darlington.
© Webster 1913.