That’s “baloney!” Or is it “bologna?” What’s the difference? (One has to do with a legendary politician)

Thinly dressed with yellow mustard and slapped between two slices of white bread, bologna is found in the lunchboxes of many American youth. But what does the cold cut have to do with baloney, a slang word that implies nonsense?

The bologna sausage is traditionally made from the “odds and ends” of chicken, turkey, beef, or pork. It is similar to the Italian mortadella, which originated in the Italian city of Bologna. The inexpensive deli meat is often pronounced and spelled “baloney.”

(Go here to learn the exact meaning of  the word “deli.”)

While Oscar Mayer Americanized bologna, it is enjoyed in different forms throughout the world. In Newfoundland, it is a popular breakfast food called the Newfie Steak. In Britain, it goes by Polony. Polony may be derived from the old name for Poland: Polonia. But like the American word, it may have also come from the Italian city famous for its sausages.

On to baloney: The slang word took off in the 1930s thanks to Alfred E. Smith, who served as the governor of New York four times and was the first Roman Catholic major party nominee to run for President. He frequently used the term “baloney” in reference to Washington bureaucracy.

Incidentally, Governor Smith claimed that as a young man he took his first lessons in the ways of the American populace while working not at a sausage factory, but the Fulton Fish Market in New York, where he earned $12 a week.

It’s also possible that baloney was influenced by blarney, which means “cajolery,” “flattering,” “nonsense,” and “deceptive talk.”

The word comes from the legend of the Blarney Stone. Located in a wall in a castle near Cork, Ireland, the stone is said to turn whoever kisses it into a persuasive flatterer.

Would you believe us if we told you that what we call an “egg” almost had a different name? Learn what it is, and why, right here.


  1. Ben -  September 26, 2013 - 5:50 pm

    Fudge i spelled baloney balony lol

  2. Ben -  September 26, 2013 - 5:50 pm

    This is really helpful thank you

  3. camcam -  September 7, 2010 - 3:04 pm

    i heard that it may increase stomach (?) cancer ((idk)), but it was some sort of cancer plz correct me

  4. Robert S. -  September 2, 2010 - 10:57 am

    A lot of hot air, I imagin.

  5. Ann Marie -  September 1, 2010 - 2:53 pm

    That had me and my friend ROFLING
    I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeealy dont care

  6. melissa -  September 1, 2010 - 1:12 am

    Instead of bologna, it looks like they put up a photo of a slice of salami instead, ha. Not a big deal, of course, I just like to point out details.

  7. Guest -  August 31, 2010 - 1:42 pm

    Technically this should be a Lukewarm Word, since they have already used this as a Hot Word in the past.

  8. Mark V -  August 31, 2010 - 12:08 pm

    I wonder how many relinks to old Hot Word’s they could cram into a post if they really, really tried. ^_^
    Self-referential challenge, go!

  9. BALONEY | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  August 31, 2010 - 11:03 am

    [...] Murdoch is full of it and wants to control information. — BOLOGNA A City, a meat, make haste, no waste — recycled participation. — It’s somewhat [...]

  10. Guest -  August 31, 2010 - 9:50 am

    This was actually a previous Blog of the Day.

  11. #1 Skillet fan -  August 30, 2010 - 12:21 pm

    baloney is full of fat and other parts of beef that cannot be packaged other wise. therefore, it is imposible to know for sure what is in the deli meat. Because of its high saturated fat content, baloney should be limeted to a minimum.

  12. a mixed bag -  August 30, 2010 - 3:59 am

    Is that meat nutritious?


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