A similar word has almost the same meaning as baloney. It even sounds almost the same. The word is “blarney.” It began in Ireland about 1600. The lord of Blarney Castle, near Cork, agreed to surrender the castle to British troops. But he kept making excuses for postponing the surrender. And he made them sound like very good excuses. “This is just more of the same blarney.” The Irish castle now is famous for its Blarney stone. Kissing the stone is thought to give a person special powers of speech. One who has kissed the Blarney stone, so the story goes, can speak words of praise so smoothly and sweetly that you believe them, even when you know they are false. A former Roman Catholic bishop of New York City, Fulton Sheen, once explained, “Baloney is praise so thick it cannot be true. And blarney is praise so thin we like it.” Source

How do I parse the two sentences in bold at the end of the paragraph?

  • Both sentences can be parsed as X is praise [so Y (that) Z]. The part [so Y (that) Z], e.g. so thin we like it is a post-modifier. It might be helpful to aid the reading like this: And blarney is praise (that is) so thin (that) we like it. Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 2:57
  • @DamkerngT. Do you think this sentence is right?
    – user48070
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 3:39
  • Yes, it looks fine to me. Any problem in specific that you're thinking of? Btw, it seems like the original quote is a little different, Baloney is flattery laid on so thick it cannot be true, and blarney is flattery so thin we love it. Source: books.google.com/books?id=fZLrWkFOed0C&pg=PA12. Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 3:44

1 Answer 1


Following is a "parsing" of meanings.

  1. "[Baloney is praise] [so thick] [it cannot be true].
  2. [Baloney is praise] [and that-praise is so "thick"] [that it cannot be true].
  3. [Baloney is praise] [and that-praise is "thick" to such a large degree] [that Baloney cannot be true].

  1. [And blarney is praise] [so thin] [we like it].
  2. [(And) Blarney is praise] [and that-praise is so "thin"] [that we like it.]
  3. [(And) Blarney is praise] [and that-praise is "thin" to such a large degree] [that we like blarney.]

Psychology Note: People have different thresholds for Baloney. Those who are seek external validation ("starved for flattery") will respond positively to lots of baloney. They like to eat lots of baloney. Those who validate their own self will have none of it.

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