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Coined by American writer Kurt Vonnegut in his novel Cat's Cradle in 1963. Named after the religion's alleged founder, Bokonon +‎ -ism.

Proper noun[edit]


  1. (fiction, religion) In Kurt Vonnegut's novel Cat's Cradle, a religion secretly practiced by the people of San Lorenzo, the supreme religious act of which consists of any two worshippers rubbing the bare soles of their feet together to inspire spiritual connection.
    • 1997 March 13, the tree by the river, “Re: Still looking for your Soulmate? We can help!”, in[1] (Usenet):
      [>We show singles exactly how to find their True Soulmate! And we show Couples how to determine if they have found their True Soulmate!]
      How tough can it be to know once you've found the right one? As long as you're not somewhere that has made Bokononism illegal, couldn't you just put your feet together?
    • 2000 May 8, m. brazeau, “Re: help me refute a theist”, in sci.skeptic[2] (Usenet):
      Because there isn't any, and I can't think of any possible reason that there need be any. Thus I have assumed that there is no god. The difference is that since there *can be* no evidence of it, I must admit that I can not really know the answer. In my case, that is grounds for agnosticism (or Bokononism really). In the case of many others, faith takes over.
    • 2015 January 26, Petula Dvorak, “Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children are putting others at risk”, in The Washington Post[3]:
      Whatever wackadoodle philosophy you might be embracing today – frutarianism or Bokononism – is cool as long as it doesn’t hurt those around you, right? ¶ Refusing to immunize puts the rest of us at risk. And unless there is sound science and the guidance of a good doctor, it’s a pretty bogus way to hedge a bet in that game of parenting roulette.

See also[edit]