Mad (UK sense … ) ?

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simonm
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Mad (UK sense … ) ?

Post by simonm » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:54 am

This morning I read an article by a pretty serious UK journalist who, in a side comment, described a public figure as "mad". From the context I am puzzled whether he meant the figure

a) is clinically insane and likely in need of treatment or
b) (pejoratively) is very unpredictable or
c) (in awe) takes amazing risks.

Could he mean something else I haven't picked up on as I do not live in the UK ? As a UK English speaker what kind of connotations does "mad" have for you when used to describe a public figure? I have never thought of the figure in question being insane so this option intrigues me in a morbid way. :-)

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muirtan
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Re: Mad (UK sense … ) ?

Post by muirtan » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:44 am

It really depends who they are talking about and what their own opinions are, B or C depending on the circumstances. Unlikely it's A as that would probably be more than a side comment.

OldPotter
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Re: Mad (UK sense … ) ?

Post by OldPotter » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:00 am

Just one opinion.

Mad = capable outrageous behaviour beyond the social norm. Not a term of respect.

Could not be "A" as that would imply some clinical expertise. An expert would not use the word "mad". It would have to be a complicated 3 word medical term.

It also depends on the history of public comment, does this person have a history of derision?
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Rasputin
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Re: Mad (UK sense … ) ?

Post by Rasputin » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:08 am

Mad also means highly skilled, as in "it's crazy what that guy can do, he's on a completely different level". If you google "mad skills" or even "mad skillz" I think you will find plenty of examples. There could also be an implication that the person was breaking new ground in their field.

I suppose I understand why you don't want to give us a reference, but it means that answers can only be educated guesses.

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Re: Mad (UK sense … ) ?

Post by Rasputin » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:19 am

...and don't forget 'angry'. It's primarily American but you do hear 'mad' used in this sense in the UK, and I don't think this can be a new thing because the phrase 'hopping mad' - which always means 'angry', as far as I can tell - is redolent of times past.

Pat Dodson
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Re: Mad (UK sense … ) ?

Post by Pat Dodson » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:31 am

It can also be used to mean someone is batty, wacky, loopy, bonkers or very eccentric and/or whose ideas are daft, off the wall, not well grounded.

madrilla
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Re: Mad (UK sense … ) ?

Post by madrilla » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:53 am

It could be this person has said or done things that are not sensible.

Surely there was a context in the article?

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Les Backshall
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Re: Mad (UK sense … ) ?

Post by Les Backshall » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:40 pm

Part of the normal cut and thrust of UK politics - just means they have opinions you don't agree with.

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Andrew Pohlman
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Re: Mad (UK sense … ) ?

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:52 pm

Well, not being an expert in British English, I'd say "mad" means a subclinical condition that, if it was taken somewhat farther, would get the individual admitted to a psych hospital. But it could also mean brilliant. In American English, at least in the circles I run, if someone meant "insanity", they would list the diagnosis. We would use the word "nuts" for your "B" and "C" definitions. Unless we said "madman", mad would mean angry. But "bad" means goodness ahead of it's time. Go figure.... :D
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simonm
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Re: Mad (UK sense … ) ?

Post by simonm » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:19 pm

Pat Dodson wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:31 am
It can also be used to mean someone is batty, wacky, loopy, bonkers or very eccentric and/or whose ideas are daft, off the wall, not well grounded.
The long version of my option b)
I like it as it has a slight dead parrot ring to it. :-)

Probably what was meant.

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