Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Slang Using an exaggerated, highly subjective style, especially in journalism: "a hyperkinetic, gonzo version of Graham Greene” ( New Yorker).
  • adj. Slang Bizarre; unconventional.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Using an unconventional, exaggerated and highly subjective style, often when the reporter is part of the story.
  • n. A wild or crazy person

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. conspicuously or grossly unconventional or unusual

Etymologies

Perhaps Italian, simpleton (perhaps short for Borgonzone, Burgundian) or Spanish ganso, dullard, goose (of Germanic origin).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • He pioneered what became known as gonzo journalism, living life on the edge and famously writing about his experiences.

    CNN Transcript Feb 9, 2007

  • Looking at the messages in the media that perpetuate rape myths and even make us very rape tolerant is crucial to primary prevention of this type of violence (e.g., take pornography - both the "soft core" and the "gonzo" - how pornography in general has become so much more mainstream, just as the more violent and hateful versions have become more extreme). thank you for the good work you do! goedel

    NewsHour with Jim Lehrer Podcast | PBS

  • George Condo: A Collection of Etchings | Condo is typically known for bold paintings so brash as to be referred to as gonzo "artificial realism," the term the artist uses to describe his works, which by turns are meditative, wry, irreverent and fantastical, reflecting Condo's now-iconic surrealistic mash-up of old and modern masters.

    Bill Bush: I Shot Andy Warhol: This Artweek.LA (June 13-19)

  • In Pornland, you focus on the mainstream and dominant force in the industry, gonzo, which is marketed exclusively to heterosexual men and boys and is incredibly brutal and misogynistic.

    Jackson Katz: Interview With Porn Scholar, Part 2: Business and Culture

  • In the process, he gave birth to a new form of journalism, called gonzo, in which the writer did not just participate in the story but became it.

    TAKE ME TO THE RIVER

  • Gary Oldman, who first made his name playing gonzo bad guys Sid Vicious, Dracula, Lee Harvey Oswald but has been moving in middle age toward more muted, self-effacing roles, delivers what may be the performance of his career as Smiley, a bookish, remote, seemingly colorless man whose still waters run very deep indeed.

    Slate Articles

  • He became successful as a Top 40 morning radio host; after the Reagan administration dismantled a lot of the regulatory structure for radio in the mid-80s, Beck became a star of what was known as gonzo radio.

    The Guardian World News

  • 'This is classified as gonzo, but I would say it's more of a feature-BDSM.

    FACT - Freedom Against Censorship Thailand

  • A great example of what was to be called gonzo journalism (I don't use that as a pejorative term).

    Bloggers.Pakistan

  • Author seems to have some hidden obsession with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, as on of main attributes he considers in books he reviewed is how "gonzo" each book is, whatever it means.

    "New" as the Enemy of Excellence « L.E. Modesitt, Jr. – The Official Website

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • in cycling, it is also the crazy unconventional stunt

    January 12, 2013

  • Does that mean there's a kind of pornography called garbanzo porn. Maybe that was what was wrong with the PETA ad that was rejected from the Superbowl -- too many busty vegetarians getting naked in large vats of garbanzo beans.

    Hot hummus vegetarian-on-vegetarian action.

    February 2, 2009

  • Garbanzo bean?

    February 2, 2009

  • Isn't there a bean called the "gonzo bean"?

    February 2, 2009

  • That, or the muppet.

    August 14, 2007

  • Not sure, but I'd guess this was popularized by Hunter S. Thompson's "gonzo journalism"...

    August 13, 2007