Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A group of two or more people who imagine or are manipulated to believe they share a connection based on some circumstance of little or no real significance.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Coined by Kurt Vonnegut in the 1963 science fiction novel, Cat's Cradle, in which Vonnegut described the term as referencing a false karass, or "a proud and meaningless association of human beings"; later adopted by market researchers and social scientists

Examples

  • Re: [jennifer rose] "A granfalloon is a proud and meaningless association of human beings."

    expats from up north

  • The karass is that group of friends from college who have helped one another's careers in a hundred subtle ways over the years; the granfalloon is the marketing department at your firm, where everyone has a meticulously defined place on the org chart but nothing ever gets done.

    Boing Boing: March 9, 2003 - March 15, 2003 Archives

  • The social cohesion promoted by paying taxes to and receiving benefit checks from the same government agency as millions of other strangers is spurious, however — an example of the "granfalloon," Kurt Vonnegut's term for

    Claremont.org

  • At first I thought it was a version of the granfalloon, the term Kurt Vonnegut invented to describe a striking but meaningless encounter: my brother-in-law, Jim Rasenberger and I both have books coming out within two weeks of each other.

    Eugene Linden: The Bay of Pigs: Disaster and Triumph

  • A granfalloon is supposedly one of the many groupings that human beings compulsively create.

    And So It Went

  • At first I thought it was a version of the granfalloon, the term Kurt Vonnegut invented to describe a striking but meaningless encounter: my brother-in-law, Jim Rasenberger and I both have books coming out within two weeks of each other.

    Eugene Linden: The Bay of Pigs: Disaster and Triumph

  • A more serious theme in "Cat's Cradle" was its condemnation of the "granfalloon," a term Vonnegut invented.

    And So It Went

  • At first I thought it was a version of the granfalloon, the term Kurt Vonnegut invented to describe a striking but meaningless encounter: my brother-in-law, Jim Rasenberger and I both have books coming out within two weeks of each other.

    Eugene Linden: The Bay of Pigs: Disaster and Triumph

  • At first I thought it was a version of the granfalloon, the term Kurt Vonnegut invented to describe a striking but meaningless encounter: my brother-in-law, Jim Rasenberger and I both have books coming out within two weeks of each other.

    Eugene Linden: The Bay of Pigs: Disaster and Triumph

  • Hazel's obsession with Hoosiers around the world was a textbook example of a false karass, of a seeming team that was meaningless in terms of the ways God gets things done, a textbook example of what Bokonon calls a granfalloon.

    In which of the states is it easiest to talk to strangers?

Comments

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  • "A false karass" - Cat's Cradle

    The example given is Hoosiers, people from Indiana.

    December 3, 2006

  • For Kurt Vonnegut, heir of Mark Twain, inspiration of a mad generation, bon voyage... You pushed the envelope of my irreverence. Thank you.

    April 12, 2007

  • It is a sad day for us all.

    April 13, 2007

  • Any large bureaucratic figment of people's imagination.

    May 12, 2008

  • A very disturbing boss.

    March 16, 2018