#1 Posted by ToTheNines (868 posts) -

Could be that I am completely out of touch, since I am not a native English speaker nor American.. But when did the word Bonkers become a thing in America? I have seen/heard it at least 3 times this week. Do you use it? Has it been used forever? and I just happen to be slow. I know its from Britan or something. Do you like the word? Discuss the word. k thanks.

#2 Posted by Ravenlight (8011 posts) -
#3 Edited by Akyho (1710 posts) -

I think its more a British thing...before Bonkers the cartoon series or this song.

Its a normal turn of phrase here in Scotland and the rest of the UK. Just passing over to America I suppose.

#4 Posted by BisonHero (7257 posts) -

It's not exactly super common, but it's one of many synonyms for "crazy", and I've heard plenty of people in the U.S. and Canada use it. It's not as distinctly British as something like "lovely" (which no one in North America uses unless they're an 80-year-old lady).

#5 Edited by Dalai (7090 posts) -

That takes me back to a time when I started to grow out of my cartoon phase so naturally I hated Bonkers.

The word itself has been around for ages, but rarely used in conversation anymore. You just ran into some weird people or something.

#6 Posted by CreepyUncleBrad (176 posts) -

I've heard "bonkers" all my life. Not frequently or anything though. It's not new in the U.S. that is for sure. It sounds like you just got...ahhh, let's call it lucky and happened to hear it a bunch in a short period of time.

#7 Posted by TruthTellah (9531 posts) -

@ninessc2: It has been slang for "crazy" or "silly" for almost a century, based on the perceived sound("bonk") it makes when one hits their head. After someone hits their head, they may act irrationally. Thus, "bonkers".

You don't hear it as much anymore, but it's still used off and on. I'm not surprised you might have heard it multiple times in a week.

I like it, but then, I like a lot of older terminology.

#8 Posted by Kaiserreich (765 posts) -

I've definitely heard it in older movies/tv shows so I would guess its been used for a long time.

#9 Edited by psylah (2187 posts) -



Screamin' Yellow Zonkers

#10 Posted by Random45 (1316 posts) -

It's one of those words where when I remember it exists, I use it as often as I can before I forget about it again.

#11 Edited by CaLe (4072 posts) -

I'll give you my feeling towards the word bonkers as a native English-brained person: The image I have when hearing 'bonkers' is small balls/objects flying all over the place. Chaos in a small, contained area. Here are some usage cases that come to mind:

When you tell someone that they are bonkers, you're saying they're crazy, as in something in their head is loose (small things flying around in a small, contained space?). I mostly associate this with them first doing some bizarre physical maneuver before being labelled as 'bonkers'.

How was the party? Oh, it was bonkers. If I hear this I imagine there were a lot of people and some crazy things happened. Again, a contained space, lots of movement. I might use this if I was at a party and some drunken buffoon tries to do some break dancing on top of a table but fails miserably, breaking their ankle as they slip off the beer-soaked table. Then the police show up and everyone scatters, leaving the broken-ankle'd-break-dancer to wallow in agony, beer, and regret. 'Bonkers' especially suits the image of everyone scattering as soon as they hear the sirens.

You could also use bonkers to describe a game. If someone tells me a game is bonkers I imagine something like... Garry's Mod. There are no rules, anything can happen. Normal online multiplayer games where the admin has lowered the gravity and given everyone rocket launchers may be referred to as bonkers.

I'm sure others have their own interpretations of this word, but these are mine!