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#1
Old 08-21-2007, 01:36 PM
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"Batshit crazy" --original source?

how old is this expression?
Where did it come from?
what does it mean, specifically? Is it worse than being tin-foil-hat crazy?


please, please, please, ....tell me......before I go, well, bat---t crazy.
#2
Old 08-21-2007, 01:50 PM
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No cite but I'd say it was a development from the simple bats meaning crazy, which itself is an abbreviated form of bats in the belfry, ie wrong in the head.
#3
Old 08-21-2007, 06:10 PM
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I remember doing this one in the recent past.

http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/...=batshit+crazy from March, 2006. Not as recent as I thought.

My addition to that thread was
Quote:
Batshit shows up first in print about the 1950's in military speak to mean rubbish and bullshit. By 1970, it meant crazy. Probably derived from bullshit.

You can find people saying "batshit crazy" and "batshit insane" by the late 1980's.
.
#4
Old 08-21-2007, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiboronti
No cite but I'd say it was a development from the simple bats meaning crazy, which itself is an abbreviated form of bats in the belfry, ie wrong in the head.
That, along with our daffy tendency to shoe-horn a vulgar word into an innocent word (abso-fucking-lutely, guaran-damn-tee,) gives you batshit crazy.
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#5
Old 08-21-2007, 08:31 PM
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Actually, it comes from a classic storyline in Batman comics, circa 1970.

Batman investigates a new crime spree in Gotham. He discovers that the criminal underworld are getting their instrustions from a mysterious new Napoleon of crime known as The Mastermind. Eventually he discovers that The Mastermind is actually his own BatComputer gone insane. All the bats flying around the BatCave, dropping turds on multi-million dollar equipment have caused a short circuit. Just as you'd expect, really. What the hell was Bruce Wayne thinking putting his base there? Anyway, Robin famously cried out "Holy shit, Batman, the BatComputer has gone BatShit crazy" and thus created the two expressions, holy shit, and BatShit crazy at the same time.













Sorry, DrDeth
#6
Old 08-21-2007, 10:07 PM
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I always thought it was because you can get rabies through inhaling bat guano in caves and people with rabies would appear to be crazy. Since it was a crazy caused by batshit, they were batshit crazy.








Okay, yeah, I really had no idea.
#7
Old 08-21-2007, 10:45 PM
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Hmmm. Read all this, and samclem's link, too. I think it comes, instead, from simple observation of bats. When you watch them fly, especially in droves from a nice settlement at sundown, they fly around willy-nilly in wild patterns, seemingly random, but it makes sense with their food source...nocturnal insects.

When bats emerge at dusk, as a colony, it's a feeding frenzy, and they don't fly out as birds, they fly all awhirl and about, kinda crazy. Up and down, loop de loop, and all around, going with their sonar sense in pursuit of all those ADD insects that don't fly in straight lines neither. That's the bat part.

The shit part is elaboration.

Batshit Crazy means wildly flailing about.
#8
Old 08-22-2007, 04:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
Batshit shows up first in print about the 1950's in military speak to mean rubbish and bullshit. By 1970, it meant crazy. Probably derived from bullshit.

You can find people saying "batshit crazy" and "batshit insane" by the late 1980's.
This makes sense. Though, I'm almost certain Hunter S. Thompson uses both 'batshit' and 'batshit crazy' in Fear and Loathing on the Capaign Trail '72. He may well have been ahead of the trend though, given his writing style.

And he was discharged from the Army in '58, which I suppose would explain his fondness for the word in the first place...
#9
Old 08-22-2007, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Morris
Anyway, Robin famously cried out "Holy shit, Batman, the BatComputer has gone BatShit crazy" and thus created the two expressions, holy shit, and BatShit crazy at the same time.
I don't care what the "real" answer it, you win.
#10
Old 08-22-2007, 06:02 PM
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One blog I read theorizes it's a mashup of "going apeshit" meaning acting like an upset simian who flings his feces at zoo goers and "going batty" as in having bats in ones belfry.
#11
Old 08-23-2007, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tibidabo
This makes sense. Though, I'm almost certain Hunter S. Thompson uses both 'batshit' and 'batshit crazy' in Fear and Loathing on the Capaign Trail '72. He may well have been ahead of the trend though, given his writing style.

And he was discharged from the Army in '58, which I suppose would explain his fondness for the word in the first place...
At least 58. Keenan Wynn's character in Dr Strangeglove is named Colonel Batguano. It seems that the expression must have been common by 1964 in order for it to be a joke in the movie.
#12
Old 08-24-2007, 12:42 PM
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Only slightly related to OP...but something I always got a kick out of.

There is a town in MT named Belfry (at least there was when I was growing up)

Guess what their mascot name for the school was?

#13
Old 12-03-2010, 08:39 PM
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I was gonna mention Dr. Strangelove before Loach did. Great minds obviously think alike.
Every film student who's seen Dr. Strangelove knows that one of the major certifiable nuts in the film is Bat Guano, which is another name for bat shit. Put the two together and you've got proof that the term dates back to at least 1958. In fact, it could be this film that invented it!
#14
Old 12-03-2010, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin8 View Post
I was gonna mention Dr. Strangelove before Loach did.
Three years ago?

Quote:
Every film student who's seen Dr. Strangelove knows that one of the major certifiable nuts in the film is Bat Guano, which is another name for bat shit. Put the two together and you've got proof that the term dates back to at least 1958. In fact, it could be this film that invented it!
Dr. Strangelove appeared in 1964, although the book it was loosely based on Red Alert, appeared in 1958. I assume that Col. Guano was first introduced in the movie. Was such a character in the book?
#15
Old 12-03-2010, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Three years ago?
I'm ahead of my time.
#16
Old 12-04-2010, 12:49 AM
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I always thought that batshit and bullshit were chosen because they are especially pungent. I don't actually know from first hand experience but that's what I've heard - I think. I never got the part about adding crazy to it though, but I like the explanation about it being a military expression.
#17
Old 12-04-2010, 01:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
At least 58. Keenan Wynn's character in Dr Strangeglove is named Colonel Batguano. It seems that the expression must have been common by 1964 in order for it to be a joke in the movie.
Actually, his last name is "Guano" and his nickname is "Bat." Sellers' great delivery of the line "Colonel [pause] Bat Guano, if that really is your name--" makes the movie.
#18
Old 12-04-2010, 06:06 PM
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Good question. I always thought it was connected to rabies, which is associated with bats and craziness.
#19
Old 12-05-2010, 08:10 PM
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Not batshit per se, but...

batty
1580s, "pertaining to bats," from bat (n.2). Slang sense "nuts, crazy" is attested from 1903, from the expression (to have) bats in (one's) belfry, also meaning "not right in the head" (1901).

Dictionary.com, "batty," in Online Etymology Dictionary. Source location: Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/batty. Available: http://dictionary.reference.com. Accessed: December 05, 2010.
#20
Old 12-08-2010, 07:28 PM
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I hypothesize that the word "Batshit" is emblematic of the general coarsening of American speech that occurred during and subsequent to World War II. To my ears, there's something vaguely effete about "batty", a connotation that "Batshit" lacks. I suspect that a civilian during the 1940s would not have perceived these 2 words in that way. These developments occurred in parallel to more general trends towards informality, starting near the dawn of the 20th century.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula
please, please, please, ....tell me......before I go, well, bat---t crazy.
Apologies for the 3+ year delay.
#21
Old 12-17-2010, 02:33 AM
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New Etymological tool

Google Labs has an app that traces word usage in books scanned by google. The word "batshit" appears to have emerged in the first half of the 1960s. It climbed steadily until the 1990s and has had its ups and downs since. "Batty" has also had an upswing and is printed in books about eight times more than "Batshit".

http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?c...=0&smoothing=3

"Batshit crazy" emerged around 1989 or so: since 2000 its usage has only grown.

http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?c...=0&smoothing=3

Here's a listing of books with the term "Batshit Crazy":
http://google.com/search?q=%22ba...993&lr=lang_en
Quote:
Originally Posted by from 1989
Reasons like a strikingly legitimate fear of going batshit crazy. All Jerome and the others wanted was a sharing of processing capabilities. Collaborative calculation. But the chips weren't designed to filter out the irrelevant input ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Anton Wilson - 1991
A man from the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal recently complained that when he tells people some things in my books are batshit crazy, they tell him he lacks a sense of humor. ...
Happens to the best of us.

Last edited by Measure for Measure; 12-17-2010 at 02:34 AM.
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