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Please don't say 'mad' when you're only 'angry!'

graybyrd

It seems to have become ubiquitous: authors say 'mad' when their character is angry. This may seem like a minor nit-pick, but it's really not. Think about it.

"It's a mad, mad world!"
"It's a madhouse around here!"
"He's mad as a hatter!"
"He was like a madman, gone all postal!"

Sure, there is a secondary meaning to 'mad,' as in "Mad as hell!" but that is a special case usage, IMHO. I tend to think it implies both 'angry' and 'out of control.'

In most cases, instances of anger are best described as 'angry,' and instances of mental derangement are reserved for 'mad.'

No?

But then again, if we can reassign various meanings to fewer and fewer words, we have less vocabulary to remember. That's a good thing, right?

Switch Blayde

@graybyrd

Sorry, but "mad" is perfectly okay for angry. From Dictionary.com:

Mad meaning "enraged, angry" has been used since 1300, and this sense is a very common one. Because some teachers and usage critics insist that the only correct meaning of mad is "mentally disturbed, insane," mad is often replaced by angry in formal contexts: The president is angry at Congress for overriding his veto.

Replies:   graybyrd
Wheezer

Lots of words in English have multiple meanings, depending on context. It's no big deal, although I imagine it can drive ESL speakers a little nuts. Nuts - another of those words... ;)

graybyrd

@Switch Blayde

So your suggestion is ... don't bother? When you write "He was mad" it can be either meaning? Pissed off, or nuts?

I always thought English was an exceptionally descriptive language, with virtually unlimited shades of meaning. So we can bag all that and roll it all up into a few lazy words.

Forgive me. I'm still rather pissed ... err, 'mad' ... that we've dropped a plain-spoken word, 'use,' in favor of the mealy-mounted faux-educated word 'utilize.'

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Dominions Son

@graybyrd

In most cases, instances of anger are best described as 'angry,' and instances of mental derangement are reserved for 'mad.'


Actually, mad meaning angry has been around much longer than mad meaning mentally deranged. If we ought to stop using one of the two, it's mad meaning mentally deranged that should be the one dropped.

Ernest Bywater

@graybyrd

It seems to have become ubiquitous: authors say 'mad' when their character is angry.


In many slang and colloquial usages mad is a valid replacement for angry. However, where I may have a character say, "I'm made about what happened!" I'll likely use the word angry in narrative form by writing, Fred was angry about what Jim did.

awnlee jawking

@graybyrd

Pissed, or hopping angry?

AJ

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

Pissed, or hopping angry?


Not pissed. In the U.K. they'll think drunk.

Replies:   ustourist
ustourist
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

While reading that I was struck by what seems a little odd.

When someone is pissed, the anger level doesn't necessarily require definition, but when they are pissed off then - to my mind - it requires a clarification of the degree which could be anywhere from mildly to extremely.

Is it just me, or do others have the same reaction to the useage requiring a clarification of the level reached?

sejintenej

@ustourist


When someone is pissed, the anger level doesn't necessarily require definition, but when they are pissed off then - to my mind - it requires a clarification of the degree which could be anywhere from mildly to extremely.

My feeling is that "pissed off" is not so strong as "mad" which itself pales before "furious".

a little nuts (see below); the squirrel might get hungry
pissed off; the china is safe but delicate ears might get upset
mad; china could get smashed
furious; someone will end up in hospital - or the mortuary

tempestuous is about parallel to furious
Wheezer ‎06‎/‎11‎/‎2015‎ ‎18‎:‎14‎:‎00
Lots of words in English have multiple meanings, depending on context. It's no big deal, although I imagine it can drive ESL speakers a little nuts.

Yes; English has about 800,000 words including technical ones; French 500,000 including technical European Spanish 350,000 including technical. Still English has almost 100 different meanings for "stock" and there is another word (forgotten) with even more. Ergo Spanish is relatively easy.
All three are tonal but Castillian Spanish seems less so.

Even easier, my Spanish pocket dictionary has 322 pages but my direct equivalent Lommerordbok has only 164 with the print nearly double size. Which language needs more words?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  tppm
Switch Blayde

@ustourist

When someone is pissed, the anger level doesn't necessarily require definition, but when they are pissed off then - to my mind - it requires a clarification of the degree which could be anywhere from mildly to extremely.


Actually, to me "pissed off" is very angry, and usually about someone or some event. "Pissed" is just angry.

Replies:   Grant
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@sejintenej


English has about 800,000 words including technical ones


That's because English is an illegitimate child of several parent languages, some of which are from Latin but warped via other countries. Major root derivatives of English words are: Pict, Brit, Celtic, Anglic and Saxon (two Germanic variations), Greek, Latin, French and Spanish (both Latin variations), and Norse; minor root derivatives are: Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, with a number of African derivatives as well Polish and Russian.

Many of the root languages had words with the same spelling and sound but different meanings, and they've all ended up embedded in the polyglot we call Modern English. Considering how quickly the language assimilates new words from other languages it's surprisingly uniform, mostly due to the past grammar nazis and the like teaching the rules on how it's put together.

Another oddity is despite the many words inherited from the other languages the syntax is very different, regardless of the fact many of the major root sources use the same syntax that's almost the opposite of what's used in English; eg Mont Blanc = White Mountain.

edit to add: Now that we've kibbitzed this, let's stick it in the kraal and see what we can teach a robot about a tsunami.

Replies:   ustourist  tppm  sejintenej
ustourist

@Ernest Bywater

Don't forget Hindu as well. A lot of new words entered the language from there which are now used as specific terms, like Thug, Dinghy and Pyjamas.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@ustourist

Don't forget Hindu as well.


And recent American slang, such as "dis" popularized by hip-hop.

Replies:   ustourist
ustourist

@Switch Blayde

I am trying very, very, hard to forget the use of words like "dis".

Replies:   graybyrd  Grant
graybyrd

@ustourist

dis my ho, bro?

ustourist

@graybyrd

That was cruel in the extreme.
I will now go away and sulk.

Grant

@ustourist

I am trying very, very, hard to forget the use of words like "dis".

To me "Dis" & "Disrespected" are non words. They don't make sense.

Grant

@Switch Blayde

Actually, to me "pissed off" is very angry, and usually about someone or some event. "Pissed" is just angry.

To me "Pissed off" generally means not happy or angry. Very, extremely, indescribably pissed off= Very, extremely, indescribably angry.
But if someone just says "I'm pissed" or "He was really pissed" it means they're drunk, or really drunk. "Totally pissed" = falling down, pants wetting, passed out, drunk.
For "pissed" to indicate anger, it has to be "pissed off".

Wheezer
Updated:

Around here, pissed means angry - never drunk. Say you are pissed or they are pissed, then everyone will assume you mean angry. Pissed-off is just a variation, and may indicate angrier than plain old pissed. The only expression I hear around here involving piss and inebriation is "piss-faced," as in "he was piss-faced drunk last night!" Or "I got totally piss-faced last night."

As for mad, I hear it used both ways here. "I'm mad at you." (angry) "I'm mad about you." ( crazy in love)

'around here' is the central region of the US.

Replies:   ustourist
ustourist

@Wheezer

Or "I got totally piss-faced last night."


Yet the version I know from the UK is shit faced. I hadn't heard of piss-faced before.
Looks like the US drunks get off easier than the UK ones.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Wheezer

Shit-faced is pretty common too. Probably moreso than piss-faced.

Dominions Son

@ustourist

Looks like the US drunks get off easier than the UK ones.


That depends on who used the toilet last and for what when Mr. Hangover comes knocking.

tppm

@graybyrd

"Mad" has meant both angry and insane about equally for as long as I can remember. (I turned 61 last August.) And, simply due to it coming up more often in life, I've heard it a lot more often as meaning angry.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
tppm

@awnlee jawking

Pissed, or hopping angry?


What's his being drunk got to do with it?

Switch Blayde

@tppm

"Mad" has meant both angry and insane


It also means "rabid" as in mad dog.

And live and learn. It also means wildly gay or merry as in, "To have a mad time at the Mardi Gras."

tppm

@sejintenej

tempestuous is about parallel to furious


In my mind "Tempestuous" means volatility subject to emotional outbursts. Furious would be an instance of an emotional outburst.

English has about 800,000 words


A few months ago one of the organizations that keeps track of such things (OED?) announced that English had passed one million 10^9 words.

Replies:   sejintenej
tppm
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Now that we've kibbitzed this, let's stick it in the kraal and see what we can teach a robot about a tsunami.


Yiddish (Kibitz), Dutch (eventually, through Afrikaans) (Kraal), Czech (Robot), and Japanese (Tsunami)

Ernest Bywater

@graybyrd

dis my ho, bro?


Da hip-hop santa, got to put a bit more joy into his ho when he say dat, especially when repeated often for da kids; so it sound nice when he go ho-ho-ho-ho.

sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

That's because English is an illegitimate child of several parent languages, some of which are from Latin but warped via other countries.

Even place names in England can be affected; in 1087 the language of England was French and at that date (and now) the main part of the name of this village is in French and describes the place as a field of ******

My son-in-law, recently posted to the grim reaches of Yorkshire brought a Yorkshire - English dictionary. One third of the entries were mispronounced English (like "dis my ..., bro"?) but on the four pages I looked at every single one of the other entries had identical meanings (and mostly identical spellings) in my Norwegian dictionary. Amazing how that has stayed over a millenium

Replies:   ustourist
sejintenej

@tppm

A few months ago one of the organizations that keeps track of such things (OED?) announced that English had passed one million 10^9 words.

I wonder if that was European English or the worldwide variations as well. I'm sure the US has added not a few from immigrants, Native Americans, film writers etc

ustourist

@sejintenej

I don't know how true this is in actuality, but one of my clients (a Yorkshireman) once told me that during the war he was captured and subsequently escaped. When making his way through Denmark he was able to understand a lot of the spoken language, but not much of the written, due to the accent/dialect being so similar.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej
Updated:

@ustourist


I don't know how true this is in actuality, but one of my clients (a Yorkshireman) once told me that during the war he was captured and subsequently escaped. When making his way through Denmark he was able to understand a lot of the spoken language, but not much of the written, due to the accent/dialect being so similar


I can well believe it.

Go to the City of York and the main drag is Kirkgate: kirke = church, gate = street. Not far away are the Fells = Fjell. Vatn is close to water but in the context I know means a small lake.

My first job was in North Norway where they speak in a slow sing song manner. The accent was easy to copy and the grammer easy for a Brit. I went to my best man's wedding on the Denmark - German border and when they spoke slowly we could converse very easily (the beer helped!). My wife had a right rollicking go at me because of my accent from, I'm told by a Norwegian Henry Higgins, Bo in Lofoten(that is another story)

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Pissed, or hopping angry?

If you piss on yourself, you'll be hopping angry! Not as angry as when people try to dictate how you can use the language, but a close 75th!

When someone is pissed, the anger level doesn't necessarily require definition, but when they are pissed off then - to my mind - it requires a clarification of the degree which could be anywhere from mildly to extremely.

USTourist, quite right. If I'm pissed off, I'll often keep it too myself. But if they really piss me off, then I'll scream. "Hopping mad", however, requires a whole different scenario.

Also, "mad" to describe mental illness is extremely dated, as "mentally insane" is a legal term, rather than a psychiatric definition. It's also extremely politically incorrect, as there are easily tens of thousands of functional psychopaths working decent jobs. There are much better descriptors for mental illness than the lackadaisical "mad".

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

Decent jobs? HELL! A number of them are running for POTUS, although "functional" might be a stretch... :oP

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Wheezer

Decent jobs? HELL! A number of them are running for POTUS, although "functional" might be a stretch... :oP

Sorry, my mistake. I meant to say "schizophrenic" rather than "psychopath" (having no reference rather than oneself).

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