[Ads-l] batshit

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 12 00:42:47 EST 2016


See also Green's Dictionary of Slang, which dates the noun to 1943 and the
adjective to 1966. (The adverb is folded into the adj. sense.)

_batshit_ n.
also _batcrap_
1. lies, nonsense, rubbish; also as excl. [play on _bullshit_ n. (1)/_crap_
n.1 (4)].
1943 H. MacDiarmid _Lucky Poet_ 100: Batshit ! ' That is exactly what the
judgement of almost every writer of signed reviews in Great Britain amounts
to. Just that !
[...]

_batshit_ adj.
[_batshit_ n. (2) + _bats_ adj.]
insane, crazy, also as adv.; thus _go batshit_ v., to become insane, to act
crazily; _drive batshit_ v., to drive mad.
1966 R. Stone _Hall of Mirrors_ (1987) 202: You’re batshit.
[...]

On Sun, Dec 11, 2016 at 9:03 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
wrote:

> I have also encountered "bullshit" in the meaning of "crazy," but only
> since the 1970s.
>
> The 1950 "bat shit" strikes me as unidiomatic and very odd.
>
> At any rate, see HDAS I.
>
> JL
>
> On Sun, Dec 11, 2016 at 8:19 PM, Barretts Mail <mail.barretts at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > If I understand this right, the sense that is an alternative for bullshit
> > is:
> >
> >         • A worthless or contemptible thing; rubbish, nonsense. Cf.
> > bullshit n. (1950 M. Shedd Return to Beach ii. 156: "I felt the minute
> hand
> > of that bat shit of a Judas clock stand up to me.”)
> >
> > For me, “bullshit” does not work in this sentence. Cf.
> > https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bullshit <https://en.wiktionary.org/
> > wiki/bullshit>. Perhaps the meaning of bullshit has changed.
> >
> > BB
> >
> > > On 11 Dec 2016, at 17:02, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> wrote:
> > >
> > > At http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/38354/where-did-
> > the-phrase-batsht-crazy-come-from we read that while histoplasmosis may
> > indeed be implicated, the first occurrences of “batshit” were as variants
> > of “bullshit”.  Clearly, the meaning has shifted over the decades.  Given
> > the standardly assumed culpability cat poop in the spread of
> > *toxo*plasmosis (a danger I still somewhat suspect of having been
> > exaggerated if not wholly invented to give pregnant women an excuse to
> have
> > their partners clean the litter box full time for the duration of
> > gestation), I wondered whether “catshit crazy” also occurred, and it
> > does—99 actual g-hits.  Still pales next to batshit and histoplasmosis,
> but
> > it’s not *that* shabby…
> > >
>
>

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