Does ‘gonezo’ have a meaning in Irish? Conor McGregor tweet causes confusion

Bruno Cooke July 13, 2021
Does ‘gonezo’ have a meaning in Irish? Conor McGregor tweet causes confusion
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

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Conor McGregor’s leg injury while fighting Dustin Poirier has left him “broken in more ways than one”, claims MMA analyst Luca Fury, following a spate of since-deleted tweets including images of Poirier and one of Poirier’s daughter Parker. What did Conor McGregor mean when he tweeted (and then deleted) the word “gonezo”? Does it have a meaning in Irish?

When and why did Conor McGregor tweet the word gonezo?

Irish mixed martial artist Conor McGregor faced American rival Dustin Poirier for the third time on 10 July. 

He lost the fight in the first round via doctor stoppage, after he broke his tibia. 

Last night, McGregor went on a “tweet-and-delete spree, targeting Poirier and his wife Jolie”. One of the tweets consisted of three photos, one of which included Poirier’s daughter Parker. The tweet itself contained one word: gonezo.

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Does gonezo have a meaning in Irish?

Not formally. Conor McGregor’s tweeting containing the word “gonezo” does not appear to have a direct translation in the Irish language. 

Despite its resemblance to the word “gonzo” – which describes a style of journalism that places the author/journalist at the centre of the work, popularised by Hunter S Thompson – there is no entry in the dictionary for the word “gonezo”. Besides, Conor McGregor is not known for his love of gonzo journalism.

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However, the fact that McGregor used it in the first place indicates that it does have some meaning. So, what could he have meant by it?

Some internet users have read it as a threat

Some internet users on Reddit and Twitter have taken it as a potential threat. One user commented on a post in the subreddit r/MMA: “The old casual death threat on a person’s toddler.”

Similarly, MMA analyst Luca Fury tweeted that he believed McGregor to be “threatening an innocent child’s life because he lost a fight.”

In response to a question about the meaning of the word “gonezo”, Fury replied: “Slang for gone. Like how donezo is slang for done.”

However, several users disagree with Fury’s statements. One poked fun at his appraisal, saying, “You heard it here first lads”.

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So, what does gonezo mean, and what did it mean when Conor McGregor used it?

In a different context, Irish lifestyle and wellbeing writer The Irish Balance uses “gonezo” to mean something like “very tired” or “exhausted”, as in, “my physical and mental energy levels were gonezo”.

Macmillan Dictionary broadly corroborates this. As a very informal adjective, their community dictionary defines it as “mentally and physically gone from smoking and/or drinking too much”. In other words, “gonezo” is an English-language or Irish-English colloquialism, or slang term, meaning more than its root word “gone”.

One interpretation, therefore, is that by tweeting the word “gonezo”, McGregor was commenting on his own inebriated state.

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Sherdog forum writer posts In Defence Of Conor And His Latest Tweets

Writing in a Sherdog forum entry titled In Defense Of Conor and His Latest Tweets, one user wrote unequivocally: “‘Gonezo’ means he’s either drinking or partying too hard”.

“How you Sherdogger’s [sic] cry about how he’s ‘threatening’ his daughter is laughable […] It doesn’t actually mean Conor wants to harm his daughter.”

“He’s trying to beef up the quadrilogy and probably forgot to photoshop his daughter out of the pic.”

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.