Is "utter bologna" valid? I mean, can it be used in nonfiction, for example (I'm following Chicago style), or should it be replaced with "utter baloney" or something else?

Aren't they offensive, i.e., euphemisms for utter "something else"?

P.S. Taken from a South American source.

  • 4
    Utter Bologna is not valid. Bologna is a processed meat. Bologna is often called baloney in the U.S. Nonsense, however, is never called bologna, only baloney. Baloney could be a euphemism for Bull S### . Some bologna could be udder bologna.
    – EllieK
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 13:43
  • 2
    "Baloney" isn't offensive like a swear word; it's actually a very mild euphemism. Using the term could still be offensive, of course, like if I called your favorite idea "baloney" it would be insulting.
    – stangdon
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 13:55
  • 1
    "utter balogna" could be an attempt at a joke. Brazilians love to play around with language, and this is the kind of joke they might make to be funny. Also, we don't say that language is not valid. That said, I fail to see how this could have anything at all to do with The Chicago Manual of Style.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 14:24
  • Please don't remove information from your question that existing answers are referring to.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 20:45

2 Answers 2


Merriam-Webster records that many Americans pronounce - and some spell - "bologna" (sausage) as "baloney" ( https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/baloney ):

baloney noun (1) \ bə-ˈlō-nē\ less common spelling of bologna : a large smoked sausage of beef, veal, and pork also : a sausage made (as of turkey) to resemble bologna

However, it doesn't work the other way round. "Baloney" (meaning "nonsense") doesn't have a variant spelling "bologna".

Still, the fact that some people pronounce them the same way (and some people use the spelling "baloney" for both) means that misspelling "baloney" (nonsense) as "bologna" would be an understandable mistake. (In this case, the mistake may well be on the part of a non-native speaker, since the phrase "utter bologna" was apparently found in a South American source.)

Alternatively, it could be a joke, as others have said. (Either way, googling "utter bologna" brings up a fair number of hits.)

The notion that "baloney" (nonsense) derives from "bologna" is conjecture, according to the OED, but seems atractive.

Whether or not "baloney" originated as a euphemism for "bullshit", some people clearly regard it as such. But the two words are not similar enough for "baloney" to cause any offence (at least, no more so than calling something rubbish or nonsense would).

  • Reminds me of 'gabagool'. A sausage properly called Capicola, and also a mainly NY/NJ term for a person of Italian-American heritage who knows nothing about Italy but carries on like Tony Soprano. Commented May 4, 2021 at 14:37
  • @Lambie Then Americans must be better-educated than Brits. In the UK it's quite common for native speakers to misspell things or get homophones mixed up.
    – rjpond
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 14:48
  • @Lambie Perhaps. (In fact, googling "have a cupper" returns thousands of examples, some on serious websites - e.g. bbc.co.uk/birmingham/content/articles/2006/11/15/… .) I have known people write "site" instead of "sight", and vice versa. I also know someone who keeps on writing "were" as "where", even though his spelling is otherwise of at least average quality.
    – rjpond
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 15:13
  • The fact that the source was in South America and therefore probably a non-native speaker of AmE arguably increases the chances that it's a mistake. But it could also be a joke.
    – rjpond
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 15:21
  • 1
    @Lambie This discussion has surpassed its usefulness and I can't devote any more time to it. Thanks for your input, though.
    – rjpond
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 15:25

The slang term baloney comes from the Italian cold-cut bologna.

So, one might say: That is utter baloney.

Now, there are two possibilities:

The South American source did not know this and misused it.
They did it on purpose, trying to be funny.

There is no way to tell.

baloney is a euphemism for bullshit.

  • Downvoter, tsk tsk tsk.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 15:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .