Browse Definitions:


Contributor(s): Alex Shnitman

Certain words are intended to be undefinable and "fnord" is one of them. First used in Robert Anton Wilson' trilogy, The Illuminati Papers , fnord has developed a group of devotees that meet at certain pages in cyberspace to celebrate the word's sense of the apparent but indefinite. The editors of have spent far too much chasing the meaning of this elusive term, and this is what we are left with:

  • Fnord is the space between the pixels on your screen.
  • Fnord is the "ooo" in varooom of race cars.
  • Fnord is the smallest number greater than zero.
  • Fnord keeps a spare eyebrow in his pocket.

In Wilson's trilogy, (based on reports from users), truth is revealed to those who know where to look. The enlightened can see fnord in the empty spaces between unjustified columns of text in newspapers and magazines. Called sticky spots, these spaces are not really blank, but contain fnord, visible only to those privy to heavily guarded secrets and occult powers. Fans of the novel began using the word as a private joke and the concept spread to many who had never read the book but had no trouble discovering new places where fnord must clearly exist.

This was last updated in April 2005

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

'Fnord' was not used first, as stated, by Robert Anton Wilson in the Illuminatus trilogy (co-authored by Robert Shea), but in 'Principia Discordia' (1965) by Kerry Thornley and Greg Hill. It had no meaning in this publication. It was adopted by the two Roberts as the keyword for a educational brainwashing practice, in which the word 'fnord' was inserted invisibly (how is unexplained) into texts to condition a state of unease & paranoia, which could triggered in adults when they 'saw' the word.

Never Whistle While You're Pissing


File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...



  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...


  • all-flash array (AFA)

    An all-flash array (AFA), also known as a solid-state storage disk system, is an external storage array that uses only flash ...

  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.

  • external storage device

    An external storage device, also referred to as auxiliary storage and secondary storage, is a device that contains all the ...


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.