Printable Version
Pronunciation: glo-bê-lo-ni Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: Nonsensical, absurd ideas about global issues.

Notes: This word should be a nonce word, but it has crept into several dictionaries, including the granddaddy of them all, the Oxford English Dictionary. So, we must assume it is a legitimate English vocabulary item.

In Play: William L. O'Neill wrote in A Democracy at War: America's Fight at Home and Abroad in World War II (Harvard University Press, 1995, p. 197): "Wendell Willkie's One World (1942), the epitome of globaloney, sold four million copies." As late as 2017, Pankaj Ghemawat and Steven A. Altman wrote in an article in the Washington Post entitled "Is America enriching the world at its own expense? That's globaloney." It included the sentence, "And policies rooted in overestimating globalization—"globaloney"—could harm the people they purport to protect."

Word History: Globaloney is a blend of global and baloney. Global is the adjective for globe, which was borrowed from Middle French globe, inherited from Latin globus "round mass, sphere, ball". It is related to gleba "clod, lump", from a PIE word glebh-/globh- "to ball up". Glob is another word English converted from French globe. Russian glyba "clod, lump" comes from the same PIE word. Gel- "to curl, round" is presumed to underly glebh-/globh-, because we find semantic variants ending on [m] as well, i.e. glem-/glom-. We see them in Latin glomus "ball (of yarn)", English clump and Dutch klomp "lump, clod". Baloney resulted from a mispronunciation of Bologna (sausage), as in 'baloney sandwich'. How this large, mild sausage came to be associated with nonsense is anyone's guess.

Dr. Goodword,

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