Nothing Burger

Nothing Burger

Updated Dec 10, 2017 at 04:20AM EST by Y F.

Added Jun 29, 2017 at 04:42PM EDT by Matt.

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Nothing Burger is a slang term meaning something or someone that has no inherent value or substance. First used in Hollywood gossip magazines since as early as the 1950s, the term has evolved to describe highly publicized non-events, particularly stories of political intrigue without proof or consequence.


The earliest known usage of "nothing burger" comes from Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons in reference to actor Farley Granger's release from Sam Goldwyn's studio MGM.[4] In her June 1st, 1953 article "Louella's Move-Go'Round," she wrote, "After all, if it hadn’t been for Sam Goldwyn Farley might very well be a nothingburger."[1]


Three years later, Parsons used the term again in reference to actress Shelley Winters' big break. On July 5th, 1956, she wrote, "'You certainly do,' I told Miss Winters, who was Miss Nothingburger when Ronald Colman gave her a chance in A Double Life.

Eventually, the term spread to other writers, including Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown. She used "nothingburger" (as well as "mouseburger") in several of her books, starting with 1965's Sex and the Office, where she wrote, "Wearing one great pin four days in a row is better than changing to nothing-burger clinkers."

While the term existed in the arts and leisure section for years, it made its entry into the political sphere in July 1984. After being forced to resign as President Ronald Reagan's administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Anne Buford called her new job as the head of a federal panel, "a nothing-burger, a joke."

The Gadsden Times, Sunday, July 29, 1984-A5 Burford calls job nothing burger VAIL, Colo. (AP)-Anne make you just die?" she said. Gorsuch Burford, who resigned Some members of the Advisory under fire as head of the Committee on Oceans and At Environmental Protection mosphere expressed surprise Agency, says the panel to which Saturday at her remarks that the President Reagan has appointed panel is"joke." her is ..a nothing. burger . a "I guess if she feels that way. joke." it's curious that she accepted the She also lampooned the District job," sald Don Walsh of San of Columbia as belng "too small Pedro, Calif to be a state and too large to be an"My own attitude has been that asylum." the law gives us what looks like a Mrs. Burford, a former Re pretty important assignment. If publican Colorado legislator and the president of the United States wife of federal Bureau of Land asks you to serve on something Management Director Bob like this, you ought to take it Burford, received a standing seriously," added FitzGerald ovation Friday night from dele- Bemis of Richmond, Va., another gates to the 57th annual Colorado committee member Wool Growers Association con-In her speech, Mrs. Burford vention for her assessment of the outlined what she called some »f

On June 10th, 2006, Urban Dictionary user Nutmegs defined "nothingburger" (shown below). They wrote, "something lame, dead-end, a dud, insignificant; especially something with high expectations that turns out to be average, pathetic, or overhyped." The post received more than 145 upvotes as of June 2017.[2]

nothingburger dud, insignificant; especially something with high something lame, dead-end, a expectations that turns out to be average, pathetic, or overhyped. "much to the team's dismay, the number one pick in this year's draft turned out to be a nothingburger" #lame #dead-end #dud #overrated #nothing burger

Throughout the 2016 presidential election, pundits and politicians referred to Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as a "nothing burger." One of the most famous examples came from Charles P. Pierce, a writer for Esquire. On April 6th, 2016, Esquire published an article by Pierce entitled "The Great Hillary Email Nothingburger is Still on the Grill, and It's Certainly Overcooked."[7]

The term continued to be pervasive in the culture, appearing on the subreddit /r/OutOfTheLoop on June 10th, 2017. Redditor angrae[3] posted "'Nothingburger' is a term I've seen a lot since the primaries of the election. Anyone know where it comes from?"

On March 2nd, Ted Cruz appeared U.S. Senator Ted Cruz appeared on Morning Joe to discuss Senator Jeff Sessions' meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Cruz called the probe into the meeting "a nothing burger." Once uploaded to YouTube, the interview received more than 80,000 views in three months.

On June 28th, the controversial activist organization Project Veritas released a video (shown below) in which CNN anchor Van Jones said, "This russia thing is just a big nothing burger." Within 24 hours, the video received upwards of 1.13 million views and 7,100 comments. Meanwhile, Business Insider[8] published an article about the controversial videos, which claimed that a CNN spokesman simply replied “Lol” to an emailed question about the video.

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