1894, variant of bologna sausage (q.v.). As slang for "nonsense," 1922, American English (popularized 1930s by N.Y. Gov. Alfred E. Smith; in this sense sometimes said to have been one of the coinages of legendary "Variety" staffer Jack Conway), from earlier sense of "idiot" (by 1915), perhaps influenced by blarney, but usually regarded as being from the sausage, as a type traditionally made from odds and ends. It also was ring slang early 20c. for an inferior fighter.