crazy/insane gradation

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Tue Mar 9 00:01:01 UTC 2010

There's also the Glasgow term, "metal", which carries a wholly different set
of connotations.

You treat hard men with wary respect, but run a mile when you encounter
someone who's mental.

It partly correlates with the ON term, "berserker".


> remember that when we see someone do, for instance, a double-twisting
> triple flip in the aerials in the Olympics, we may say "That's
> insane!" with admiration. There is, I think, a measure of awe or fear
> in "insane" that is lacking in "crazy."
> James Harbeck.

Isn't this a case of virtually any extreme adjective shifting in
metaphorical use to a general intensifier?

I'm thinking of "gallows" here (sometime, in both America and Glasgow,

Nothing to do with the tree they hang people from, though the flash girls of
the city might beg to differ.


The American Dialect Society -

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