the early days of "baloney"

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat May 4 02:40:39 UTC 2013

On 5/3/2013 6:28 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> ....
> Exx. like this are maddening because it's hard not to read later meanings
> into them, even if they weren't intended.
> In this case, though, the story seems pointless if "boloney" is meant
>   literally. What's more, in that case the liquor-seeker would have been
> more likely to have muttered something about "a pound o' bologna," the
> words used by the shopkeeper.
> If, on the other hand, "a lot of baloney" was already a familiar idiom, the
> point would be its singular appropriateness in this case.

One possibility is that the 'joke' consists merely in the replacement of
(the conventional) "lot of blarney" with (the novel) "lot of baloney".

Such a 'joke' -- conceivably even this very one -- MAY have actually
been the source of the "baloney" under discussion, I think.

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society -

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