barmy

balmy, barmy
These two words come from two roots, although the lines of descent have become intertwined: balmy (meaning ‘deliciously fragrant’) comes from balm (see the entry above) and barmy (as now used colloquially, meaning ‘stupid’) comes from barm, meaning ‘froth’. However, barmy is an altered form of balmy, which also had the colloquial meaning in the 19c and early 20c. Consequently they may be regarded as spelling variants; but current usage favours the distinction given above. Since the 1980s the expression barmy army has been used informally to describe groups of political fanatics and, by extension, jingoistic sports supporters (especially of the English cricket team) and others:

• We've had what feels like 900 years of Blair's barmy army now so we know how the system works —weblog, NewZE 2005 [OEC].


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Barmy — Barm y (b[aum]rm [y^]), a. Full of barm or froth; in a ferment. Barmy beer. Dryden. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • barmy — 1530s, frothing, covered with barm; see BARM (Cf. barm) + Y (Cf. y) (2). Figurative sense of excited, flighty, bubbling with excitement is from c.1600. Meaning foolish (1892) is probably an alteration of BALMY (Cf. balmy) …   Etymology dictionary

  • barmy — ► ADJECTIVE (barmier, barmiest) informal, chiefly Brit. ▪ extremely foolish; mad. DERIVATIVES barmily adverb barminess noun. ORIGIN originally in the sense «frothy»: from BARM(Cf. ↑B) …   English terms dictionary

  • barmy — [bärm′ē] adj. barmier, barmiest 1. full of barm; yeasty or foamy 2. [Brit. Slang] crazy …   English World dictionary

  • barmy — [[t]bɑ͟ː(r)mi[/t]] barmier, barmiest ADJ GRADED (disapproval) If you say that someone or something is barmy, you mean that they are slightly crazy or very foolish. [BRIT, INFORMAL] Bill used to say I was barmy, and that would really get to me...… …   English dictionary

  • Barmy — Infobox Settlement official name =Barmy native name = pushpin pushpin mapsize =300 subdivision type = Country subdivision name = flag|Azerbaijan subdivision type1 = Rayon subdivision name1 =Agsu leader title = leader name = established title =… …   Wikipedia

  • Barmy — If someone tells you that you re barmy they mean you have gone mad orcrazy. For example you d have to be barmy to visit England without trying black pudding! …   The American's guide to speaking British

  • barmy — UK [ˈbɑː(r)mɪ] / US [ˈbɑrmɪ] adjective Word forms barmy : adjective barmy comparative barmier superlative barmiest British informal crazy or silly …   English dictionary

  • barmy —    A word which describes a person who is foolish or eccentric, perhaps a little crazy. ‘Barm’ is the froth that forms on the top of fermenting liquors, so ‘barmy’ means frothy headed. The word is used in Britain rather than elsewhere, and is… …   A dictionary of epithets and terms of address

  • barmy — adjective a) containing barm, i.e. froth from fermented yeast 2004: The movie is sweet enough in its barmy way... Roger Ebert b) dotty, goofy, wacko …   Wiktionary

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