gonzo, adj. and n. Hunter S. Thompson first uses gonzo to describe his style of subjective journalism, characterized by imaginative facts and exaggerated rhetoric, in 1971. How Thompson came upon the word is unknown, but it is probably from either the Italian gonzo ”foolish” or the Spanish ganso “goose, fool.”
The possibility of “gone-zo” doesn’t arise? Hunter S. was pretty far gone even in his heyday. In 1975 at UC Santa Barbara I had the pleasure of waiting an hour for him to show up at an advertized event where he was the sole speaker. When he finally arrived he was so thoroughly soused he couldn’t form sentences. What a joke.
phreak, n. (also phreak, v.) A phreak is one who uses an electronic device to get free phone calls. Phreak is a variation of freak, probably playing off phone, free call, and frequency as well. [cf. blue box]
It’s difficult to comprehend nowadays that people were really dedicated to screwing The Phone Company, as it seemed to be dedicated to screwing us. I knew a guy in Berkeley who was doing just that: making international calls for free from a phone booth by whatever secret means he used. One time the beeps on the phone didn’t sound right so he hung up and started to walk away ... just as a police car screamed up to the corner where the booth was. Those were the days.
yikes, int. Undoubtedly this one is older, but the OED has it from 1971. [Sobiest has antedated this one by several decades.]
Gosh, wasn’t this a staple of Archie Comics? I’m still trying to decide between Veronica and Betty. Or was that Lana and Lois, or am I thinking of Ginger and Mary Ann? Anyway, good on ya, Sobiest.