Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
[both senses probably fr gong, ''saucer-shaped metal bell,'' of Malayan origin; the sense ''opium pipe'' may be related to the general association of gongs with Chinese matters, and the military sense to the notion that a decoration is something like the ceremonial sounding of a gong]
a circular metal plate-like percussion instrument, usually having a turned-down rim. In most forms it is struck in the centre with a felt- or leather-covered beater, producing a sound of either definite or indefinite pitch. Its vibrations issue from the centre, in contrast to bells, which vibrate principally at the rim. Gongs may have shallow or deep rims (kettle gongs) and may be bossed (knobbed in the centre) or unbossed. Rimless gongs occur occasionally.