Thursday, 29 March 2012

Entry: gonfalonish (adj.)

In context: "On Skull's back a half-m.-long skeleton in a black robe and a cowl playing the violin in the wind of a crag with THE DEAD in maroon on a vertical gonfalonish banner unfurling below; on one biceps either an icepick or a mucronate dagger, and down both forearms a kind of St. Vitus's dance of leather-winged dragons with the words - on both forearms - HOW DO YOU LIK YOUR BLUEYED BOY NOW MR DETH!?, the typos of which, Tiny felt, only served to heighten Skull's whole general tatt-gestalt's intended effect, which Tiny presume was to repel."

Definition: From gonfalon (n.): A banner or ensign, frequently composed of or ending in several tails or streamers, suspended from a cross-bar instead of being directly fastened to the pole, esp. as used by various Italian republics or in ecclesiastical processions.

Other:  Definition was a bit of a surprise - I had assumed that the term was in some way pejorative. 

A part of me cringes any time I see a writer, DFW or otherwise, attempting to mimic someone else's typos/spelling mistakes. 

SNOOT score: 1

Source: Oxford English Dictionary


  1. “Definition was a bit of a surprise - I had assumed that the term was in some way pejorative.”

    You might have been thinking of “granfalloon”:

    1. Yeah, that's definitely what happened. Cat's Cradle is a great book and one I've read several times, so probably a mis-remembering.

      Thanks Peter.