the early days of "baloney"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sat May 4 14:04:52 UTC 2013

On Sat, May 4, 2013 at 8:56 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> Cf.
> 1914 Broughton Bradenburg in _Atlanta Constitution_ (Feb. 14) [unp.]
> (NewspArch): "I haf forgot it," says that beautiful bologny-head.
> "Bologny-head" may be an ad hoc word for 'German,' from a mistaken notion
> that a baloney is a German sausage.
> AFAIK, Germans were not called "balonies" in WW1.  But did the boxin'
> baloneys of S. C. Witwer have German names?

The very first "boloney" mentioned by Witwer had "the _nom du ring_ of Young Du
Fresne." Doesn't sound very German.

But Green's Dictionary of Slang has an 1885 cite from Australia that suggests a
German connection...

1885 _Bulletin_ (Sydney) 31 Jan. 22/3: Getting back to this Schultz again,
thousands of men who never heard of that combination of sour-kraut and
high-toned bolony, gripped their papers and read that his untimely demise had
cast a gloom over the whole community of Bungwall Flat, and they (the readers)
then felt all the better for it.


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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