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Bunga bunga is a phrase of uncertain meaning that dates from 1910 if not earlier. By 2010 the phrase had gained popularity in Italy and the international press as well, when it was used by the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to refer to his alleged sex parties, which caused a major political scandal in Italy.
Early use 
In 1910 a group of English friends, including Virginia Woolf and her brother Adrian Stephen, pretending to be the Prince of Abyssinia and his entourage obtained permission to visit HMS Dreadnought, then one of the world's most powerful warships, in Weymouth in what became known as the Dreadnought hoax. Each time the Commander showed them a marvel of the ship, they murmured the phrase bunga, bunga! This became a popular catchphrase for a time.
Resurgence in Italy 
A century later, the term bunga bunga became popular again as a joke on the internet. This joke was then narrated by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at his dinner parties (in a version which featured, as prisoners, former ministers from the center-left opposition party led by Romano Prodi).
This expression was then frequently quoted by the Italian and international press during the 2011 investigation surrounding Silvio Berlusconi's underage prostitution charges, acquiring a quite different meaning as "an orgy involving a powerful leader"; as such, it was allegedly taught to Silvio Berlusconi by Muammar al-Gaddafi, who was also the unwitting originator of the phrase Zenga Zenga.
In Italy, the term bunga bunga "has become an instant, supposedly hilarious, household expression".
Descriptions of bunga bunga disagree on its meaning, or perhaps illustrate the range of its reference. It "is said to be a sort of underwater orgy where nude young women allegedly encircled the nude host and/or his friends in his swimming pool", "an African-style ritual" performed for male spectators by "20 naked young women", or erotic entertainment hosted by a rich host involving pole dancing and competitive striptease by skimpy-costumed "women in nurses' outfits and police uniforms" — but topless women, the prize being prostitution for the host.
- "Popular botany: The pine and the palm", Hogg's Instructor vol. 9 (Edinburgh, 1852), p. 411.
- "The Dreadnought Hoax", Museum of Hoaxes. Accessed 24 January 2011. This anonymous article cites Adrian Stephen, The Dreadnought Hoax (Hogarth Press, 1983).
- Stansky, Peter (1997). On or about December 1910: early Bloomsbury and its intimate world. Studies in cultural history 8. Harvard University Press. p. 33. ISBN 0-674-63606-6.
- Rosenbaum, Stanford Patrick (1995). The Bloomsbury group: a collection of memoirs and commentary. University of Toronto Press. p. 13. ISBN 0-8020-7640-8.
- Palmer, Brian (10 November 2010). "What the Heck Is Bunga Bunga?". Slate.com. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
- Angelo Agrippa, "Ecco la bella Noemi, diciottenne che chiama Berlusconi «papi»", Corriere del Mezzogiorno, 28 April 2009 (modified 7 May 2009). (Italian)
- Chase Madar, "Catholic, communist, gay", Times, 9 January 2011. Accessed 18 January 2011.
- Maria Laura Rodotà, "Silvio Berlusconi's sex antics disgust me and other Italian women", The Observer, 7 November 2010. Accessed 18 January 2011.
- Barbie Latza Nadeau, "Will Berlusconi get the boot?", Daily Beast, 7 November 2010. Accessed 18 January 2011.
- Emma Alberici, "Exile an option for besieged Berlusconi", ABC News, 9 November 2010. Accessed 18 January 2011.
- John Hooper, "Berlusconi criticised for 'use of policewomen's outfits in villa striptease shows'", The Guardian, 19 January 2011. Accessed 19 January 2011.
- Tom Kington, "Silvio Berlusconi reels as 'Ilda the Red' lands the first blow in sex offences case", The Observer, 16 January 2011. Accessed 18 January 2011.
- Westcott, Kathryn (5 February 2011). "At last - an explanation for 'bunga bunga'". BBC News.
- Thane Burnett, "Academic charts expanding universe of slang", Toronto Sun, 20 January 2011. Accessed 23 January 2011.