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The Greater Granfalloon of Wordom


1. 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.

Kurt Vonnegut wrote Cat’s Cradle in 1963. This man loved to make up words and concepts. In the book, there is the fictional religion of Bokonism. Granfalloon is a concept within it and a great word to boot. Vonnegut cited ‘the Communist Party, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the General Electric company – and any nation, anytime, anywhere’ as examples of granfalloons. Associations and societies based on a shared but ultimately fabricated premise. Vonnegut once described a granfalloon as ‘a proud and meaningless association of human beings’. It’s a great concept because it’s so prevalent in history. You have a connection with someone through something, making you close to this person, but that something is fabricated, and that connection is meaningless. It’s an interesting look at human psyche, if anything. And there is a word for it. The epically brilliant granfalloon.

It’s a difficult concept to grasp but worth reading up on because this word is one of the finest in language. It is a phenomenal word, a real treat to see and to say. It’s beautiful and not very common. A great word.

Granfalloon. A proud and meaningless association of human beings.

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Welcome! Three times a week, I bring
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their origins. These words are archaic,
rare, obsolete, foreign, ‘untranslatable’, dialectal, invented, and many more. Ultimately, I love words and this blog
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