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Etymology 1[edit]

Coined in 1971 by Boston Globe editor Bill Cardoso. Of uncertain origin; OED proposes Italian gonzo (dolt) and/or Spanish ganso (dolt, goose)[1]. The etymology supplied by Cardoso himself (French gonzeaux) is spurious[2].


gonzo (comparative more gonzo, superlative most gonzo)

  1. (journalism) Using an unconventional, exaggerated and highly subjective style, often when the reporter takes part in the events of the story.
    • 1972, R. Pollack, Stop Presses, Chapter VI
      I ask Hunter to explain... Just what is Gonzo Journalism?.. ‘Gonzo all started with Bill Cardosa [sic],..after I wrote the Kentucky Derby piece for Scanlan's..the first time I realized you could write different. And..I got this note from Cardosa saying, ‘That was pure Gonzo journalism!’.. Some Boston word for weird, bizarre.’
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

EB1911 - Volume 01 - Page 001 - 1.svg This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page per etymology instructions. You can also discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.


gonzo (plural gonzos)

  1. A wild or crazy person

Further reading[edit]



Borrowed from Spanish ganso.


gonzo m (plural gonzi)

  1. simpleton, dolt
  2. dupe