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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]
  1. ^ gonzo, adj.”, in OED Online, Oxford: Oxford University Press, April 2013.
  2. ^ What is Gonzo? The Etymology of an Urban Legend, Martin Hirst, 2004.

Etymology 2[edit]


gonzo (plural gonzos)

  1. A wild or crazy person

External links[edit]



Borrowing from Spanish ganso.


gonzo m (plural gonzi)

  1. simpleton, dolt
  2. dupe