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You're full of bologna

Posted by Smokey Stover on July 02, 2005

In Reply to: You're full of bologna posted by Victoria S Dennis on July 02, 2005

: : : : : : The phrase "Bologna" ! or "You're full of bologna" is used widely.
: : : : : : Does anyone know where it came from?

: : : : : Probably just a nicer way of saying "You're full of sh*t".

: : : : I always thought is was a euphemism for the specific term "bullsh*t" because the first syllable is the same.

: : : Minced oath.

: : Long ago, before bull**** or even B.S. was widely used in semi-polite society, it was often said, "You're full of baloney." It was also sometimes said, "That's just baloney!" Or even, "Oh, baloney!" I never had the impression that baloney was a euphemism for anything else. Baloney was a relatively plebeian sort of deli meat. But perhaps I was wrong. Who knows what evil lies in the hearts of men? Or should that be "lurks"? SS

: Etymologists reckon, though none of them seems to be prepared to swear to it, that "baloney" comes from bologna sausage (originally made in, and exported from, Bologna in Central Italy). As Smokey says, that was a cheap food - but also it was made from inferior meat, specifically the meat of elderly bulls that was too tough for any other use. So the meaning "rubbish" is fairly plain. (VSD)

Victoria is right, both about the meat and about etymologists. Here's what the OED says about the baloney-bologna connection. "[Commonly regarded as f. BOLOGNA (sausage) but the connection remains conjectural.]" In the U.S. even Italian-Americans sometimes call the meat "baloney," as the Italian pronunciation of Bologna (and many other words) is thought to be too difficult for Americans to master. (Case in point: why would Michael Schiavo pronounce his name in that odd way?) SS

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