Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Tue Aug 11 14:04:53 UTC 2009

On Aug 11, 2009, at 6:41 AM, i wrote:

>> ... possible (distant) parallels, also from British slang: bonkers
>> (origin unknown) and crackers ...

the OED doesn't label either of these as British, but all the cites
for both are British.

the OED says "origin unknown" for bonkers, but gives a quote from
Partridge's Dictionary of Forces' Slang (1948) that says: "Perhaps
from _bonk_, a blow or punch on the _bonce_ or head."

bonk the verb (attested from 1931) and bonk the noun (attested from
1934) are labeled as echoic.  (the sexual senses are several decades


The American Dialect Society -

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