[Ads-l] "Mental", n

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jan 25 10:18:49 EST 2017

> On Jan 25, 2017, at 10:15 AM, James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM> wrote:
> On Tue, 24 Jan 2017 06:21:43 Zone + 0000 Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM>
> wrote:
>> in Glasgow Urban Speech, "mental" denotes a specific
>> *kind* of insanity -- a mental boy would be a berserkganger, someone 
>> liable to go bananas at the drop of an accent.
> Is this why, in the Harry Potter books, one of Ron Weazley's favorite expressions is to say
> someone is "mental"?  Joanne "J. K." Rowling lived in Glasgow for many years and may have
> picked up the term from Glasgow Urban Speech.
> - Jim Landau 
Or visited New York in the 1950’s, when it was a standard insult to call someone “mental” (often accompanied by a circular motion with a finger next to one’s temple).  

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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