going tonto

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Sun May 19 19:16:08 UTC 2002

In a message dated 5/18/2002 8:45:13 PM, lists at SPANISHTRANSLATOR.ORG writes:

<< You're right.  "Hacerse el tonto" ('hacer' is reflexive in this case, hence

the -se) means "to play dumb", "to play stupid", "to feign ignorance". It's

typically used when a speaker believes his interlocutor is holding back the

truth, in an attempt to coax or bully it out of him.  It has nothing to do

with acting like a clown. ... I only speak definitively of and vouch for
Chilean usage.>>

HACER EL TONTO is in fact also used WITHOUT the reflexive to mean, as I said
before, 'to act the fool' in the sense of 'act foolish, plya the clown'.
Maybe not in Chile, but in many places. The Lone Ranger's sidekick, on the
other hand, was as far from silly as one could be--not only not "on the
warpath," but more the stereotypcial "noble savage."

In a message dated 5/18/2002 5:38:28 PM, douglas at NB.NET writes:

<< 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. >>

Wouldn't the Brits (source of the original cite) be more likely to pick up
TONTO ' silly > crazy' from Spanish--where it is a word that one would learn
fairly early on in studying the language--than that they would make a leap
from the American Lone Ranger's sidekick, who was in no way silly or crazy
(and who isn't that well known among younger people today anyway, is he?)

More information about the Ads-l mailing list