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Malarkey a.k.a malarky

Posted by ESC on January 23, 2001

In Reply to: Malarkey a.k.a malarky posted by Bruce Kahl on January 23, 2001

: When,in 1961,I proclaimed my innocence of drinking beer and smoking cigarettes (the other smokables were not around yet), my father would tell me "Oh yeah, you're full of malarkey since you smell like a brewery".
: Any ideas on the origin or root of malarkey?
: thanx
: bk

I learned that the expression dates back to the 1920s and may come from a surname. Other than that, origin unknown:
1. "malarkey has been a part of American slang at least since the 1930s. It means pretentious, exaggerated, high-flown language that finally adds up to nothing much at all. It's a latter-day synonym for 'baloney' or 'bunk.'" From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).
2. "malarkey or malarky n. 1929, of unknown origin." From "The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology" by Robert K. Barnhart (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1995).
3. "malarkey, 1920s" From "I Hear America Talking" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976).
4. "malarkey or malarky n. (perh. obscurely fr. the family name; semantic devel. Unkn.) 1. Nonsense." From "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, H-O" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.

  • Thanx Bruce Kahl 01/24/01