from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. An albatross, especially the black-footed albatross. Also called gooney bird.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Any of several albatrosses, especially the black-footed albatross (Diomedea nigripes) and the Laysan albatross, that dwell primarily on islands in the Pacific Ocean, often near naval bases.
- n. a foolish, silly or awkward person or thing; a goon.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a variety of albatross with black feet
Thus, while I can't speak to how Spike Milligan came up with the title of "The Goon Show," it's clear that the term "gooney" and probably the short form "goon" was widely used in England going back to the early 19th century.
“The gooney birds are no longer with us,” reported Task Force Times that day.
Unlike France, nobody much goes there, aside from the native gooney birds.
I mean the prime craziness of the conspiracy gooney birds is the notion that the less the evidence, the more proof the authorities saw of conspiracy.
Me, the King of the Mimeo Revolution (according to Booklist), zinging around through cyberspace like a gooney bird.
The very night of the Seles incident, four gooney birds rambled onto Cleveland's Municipal Stadium diamond -- one shook Indians outfielder Albert Belle's hand, another slid headfirst onto home plate -- and after making sports so great were promptly arrested.
"There's quite a few gooney birds out there," Joyner says.
A neighbor who watched me challenge the elements of suburbia compared my ride to the spectacle of a gooney bird trying to land.
"Gony" and "gooney" then became quite prominent in British publications in the 19th century beginning in 1804.
On other occasions he would swoop through our room with arms outstretched describing how gooney birds albatrosses would perch on the wings of his B-17 and hitch a ride during takeoff.