Monday, September 10, 2012

Word of the Week - Synonyms for Crazy

I'm mixing things up today! Don't worry, there'll still be a wee bit of etymology here. But I also want YOUR thoughts.

So this past week there were two different times when I wanted an old-fashioned word for crazy. I found one I was looking for, which is:
by Giovanni Battista Piazzetta

Crack. As in crack-brain fellow--this means, quite simply, crazy. Voila. To spice it up a bit more, you can even say something like cracked in the nob. (Nob being "head"...) This has been a meaning of crack since the 17th century, and the equivalent word was even used in Ancient Greek by Aristophanes! (Who, for the record, is not my favorite Greek playwright. He was a little, how shall we say, vulgar. Just so ya know...)

The thought there is pretty obvious--that your head/brain got cracked and all the sanity leaked out. (Oh, there are days...)

But I'd like to collect a few more. See, my heroine has been suffering severe sleep deprivation, which can result in some crack-brain symptoms like hallucinations and major mood swings. So twice I have someone wondering about her sanity. But I really shouldn't use the same word both times, and "mad" and "crazy" and "insane" just get so boring, don't they?

So who else can come up with a fun expression that would have been around in 1814? (I just found one other popular one that was, in fact from 1810. Let's see if you can.) ;-)

Ready...set...GO CRAZY!


  1. How about daft? Seems old enough, and familiar enough that folks would know :)

    1. Oh, good one! Not sure how I missed it, as a matter of fact... ;-) Thanks!!

  2. Replies
    1. Oo, thanks! The first two are a bit too modern, but addle-brained--perfect! =)

  3. I am afraid I shan't be of much help to you here but good luck!

  4. Phreneticus is Latin for frantic or mad; its the root in schizophrenic. On a funny note a friend once used the misspoken word "phrena-schinic" in the place of schizophrenic!
    Have fun!

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