going tonto

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat May 18 21:34:32 UTC 2002

>This is just a translation of Spanish HACER EL TONTO = 'act the fool; act
>like a clown'

I am doubtful. This would be an elegant derivation: "tonto" = "fool". But
it gives the originator[s] too much credit, I suspect. It is my casual
impression that in its usual application the meaning of "hacer el tonto" in
Spanish is quite distinct from that of English "go nuts"/"go berserk" which
I think is the intended sense here.

I suspect that "go tonto" refers to Tonto the Indian [taken as stereotype]
in "The Lone Ranger", with the connection "go on the warpath". A stupid
derivation of a stupid expression IMHO.

The typical user of expressions such as "majorly", "go tonto" does not
speak foreign languages ... perhaps can hardly manage his domestic one ....

Incidentally I see "tonto" is etymologically equivalent to
"stunned"/"astonished" ... where does "stoned" fit in, I wonder ....

-- Doug Wilson

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