The phrase made a cameo in the vice president’s speech on Wednesday, when Biden attacked Donald Trump for populist posturing.
(Unlike the blown kisses, Biden’s accusation of malarkey was aimed at the Republican Party.) As The Washington Post reported previously, the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation believes that Biden has publicly used the word malarkey with a frequency unrivaled by any other member of Congress, going back some 200 years’ worth of data.
Malarkey first appeared in the 1920s, according to the Oxford Dictionary, which dismissed its origin as unknown.
As the Economist pointed out in 2012, the Irish theory might well be malarkey, too.
The early instances include Wisconsin and Indiana as well as California, not the East Coast Irish immigrant bastions one might expect.