Baloney vs. bologna

Bologna refers to a type of sausage made of finely ground meat that has been cooked and smoked. Baloney is nonsense. It is an early 20th-century American coinage derived from bologna. It may also be influenced by blarney, which in one of its definitions means nonsense or deceptive talk.

Our reference sources differ on whether baloney and bologna are homophones in English. Some say both should be pronounced “baloney,” while others say bologna should be pronounced like the Italian city, Bologna (“boloan-ya”), where the sausage originates. But everyone agrees that the two spellings have different meanings.

Examples

Not only does Main Street not believe it, a good part of Wall Street thinks it’s baloney as well. [CNBC]

Don’t give me this baloney that he applied for his retirement a long time ago. [Tonawanda News]

The meat at Gray’s Papaya tasted like burnt bologna. [NY Times Fifth Down Blog]

It was an uninspiring loaf of French bread and a ring of Oscar Mayer bologna. [Boston Globe]

Baloney is often used in the phrasal adjective phony-baloney (or, in British publications, phoney-baloney)—for example:

As such, they are perfectly suited to the phoney-baloney gimmickry of 3D. [The Guardian]

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