[Ads-l] "Mental", n

Geoffrey Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Wed Jan 25 10:21:13 EST 2017

With apologies if this has been discussed before, but 'mental' as a derogatory adjectival term for someone mentally ill is, I'd guess, at least fifty years old and probably pan-English. I know I heard it (probably used it) in my Canadian high school, and I know it's also in Hawaiian English (reference to 1970's Rap Reiplinger comedy CD available on request).


Geoffrey S. Nathan
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From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM>
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 10:15 AM
Subject: Re: "Mental", n

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Subject:      Re: "Mental", n

On Tue, 24 Jan 2017 06:21:43 Zone + 0000 Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM>

> 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.

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