going tonto

Mark A Mandel mam at THEWORLD.COM
Sat May 18 19:57:16 UTC 2002

This is apparently a UK expression -- it was new to me.

> On Fri, 17 May 2002, "E" wrote (in a speculation thread on the
> lois-bujold list):

> #And Miles, having grown conservative about two seconds after she began
> #developing curves, goes majorly tonto about the whole thing.

        [Mark Mandel wrote]
> My word, what an interesting idiom: "goes majorly tonto"! I have never
> seen or heard the word "tonto" used in anything like that sense. Is it
> common out your way? Where did you pick it up?

        ["E" replied:]
As a matter of fact, it's British slang I picked up from my British
kinsfolk.  "Going tonto" means, more or less, losing control of oneself, in
a rather spectacular fashion.  I think it's more upper-class slang than the
general run, but I could be wrong.  I've seen a quote from Camilla
Parker-Bowles to the effect that "Diana went tonto" over her affair with
Charles.  I've not been in Britain for a long long time and it may no longer
be in general use.

-- Mark A. Mandel

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