Slang usage describing one suffering from various mental illnesses, or really just about anything that makes them sufficiently different from the rest of society (see freak). Can be referred to as "a crazy", or plural, "crazies". An example of usage can be thus: "Have fun tonight, but watch out for all the crazies!". Alternating caps may be used to emphasize just how much of a CrAZy an individual is, if necessary.

The first time I recall hearing it phrased this way was from a damn hippy friend of mine while traveling. As we were passing a large building with mirrored windows and no identifying signs or symbols (which gave it a rather ominous appearance, he looked up and said, "I'll bet there's a CrAZy pressed against the back of every window in that place!".

Also, standard I'm-either-one-or-have-a-close-family-member-who-is-so-I-can-say-whatever-the-hell-I-want-about-it disclaimer applies.

aoooaaah, aoooaaah, aoooaaaow.

These are the opening lyrics of Tori Amos's song Crazy from Scarlet's Walk, which immediately puts it in the ranks of other great songs of weirdly vocalized vowels, such as i i e e e. Apart from that similarity, Crazy is as different from the former song as it can possibly be. It is neither upset nor accusing. Instead, this song is relaxed and melodious, the lyrics are performed slowly and display an eerily calm madness. We find our red thread, Scarlet, completely settled with a man called Crazy. It seems like the time has come for craziness.

   So I let Crazy
take a spin
   Then I let Crazy
settle in
   Kicked off my shoes
   Shut reason out

Scarlet's path has been a rocky one. She has just spent a tough emotional time with a very depressed woman. Her last relationship was a disaster in which her personality almost got obliterated. In the end, she summoned up enough courage to break out. So why is she now so eager to lose herself in another man?

   Alive
      Through the dawn
   To the light
      To the turn
   When you said --

   You could drive
      all night

Perhaps because this man is Crazy. He's crazy, but he isn't madly and unpredictably so. He is a stable, solid kind of crazy. Someone slightly out of the ordinary, the kind of stranger who would talk to you at a bus stand and offer you a revelation. Perhaps he is an artist, a hermit retreated to the desert. Scarlet has a lot to rebuild, and he just might be the one to help her.

He said "first let's just
   unzip your religion
         down"

Crazy has a major job to do. Scarlet arrives carrying a lot of baggage. He is ready to strip her of these problems, one by one, down to the core. We don't know exactly what these are, but since Scarlet is quite similar to Tori in many ways, it might help looking at her history.

The daughter of a Methodist minister, Tori Amos has a few issues with religion. She demonstrates this in songs like God, Icicle, and Father Lucifer, among others. Disentangling herself from her own (mis)conceptions of Christianity is an ongoing project which has led many listeners to become shocked and disgusted with her. Closely related to this issue is her own sense of guilt, as described in Crucify. (Every day I crucify myself . . . Got enough guilt to start my own religion).

A lot of women have a tendency to heap guilt upon themselves, and to accept life's blows as a just punishments. Since Scarlet's former boyfriend was such a domineering character, she had to make herself smaller to fit in with him. Every day she told herself she was happy. Perhaps now she is feeling guilt for ruining it all? Even women who manage to run away from abusive relationships sometimes wonder if it was the right thing to do.

Crazy, if he is successful, will take Scarlet to a new level. He will force her to see her own worth, and that she has a right to pursue happiness.

      Heard that you were once
   Temptation's Girl"

The man seems no stranger to Scarlet. Their friendship must go back a long way, if he has heard about her youthful folly together with the slimeball hinted at in don't make me come to Vegas. This is an equal relationship between two mature people, scarred by life's little tragedies (as we all are). The song is a harmonious description of building stable foundations together. However, at the end of it all they seem to be more friends than lovers. Their work on each other is complete, and they move on.

But I was alone 
   when I knew it was real
Down the canyon
   when I knew I had come

   To the line
      Through the dawn
         To the light

The journey, as depicted on the map accompanying the cd, is long and curvy. Several times it retraces itself, makes a loop here, a sharp turn there. The couple goes from Colorado to Wyoming. According to Tori, they go up through the Tetons, then over Bear Tooth Pass, take a short trip back into Montana, then through Wyoming again. They "go around Crazy Horse's stomping ground and then they come through Cody. And swoop back, um...through Jackson Hole". The journey is relatively straight through Utah, but they make a last visit to Colorado again before going south to Arizona, to being alone with each other in the desert. Scarlet is ready for the next stage of her journey; she is about to dig out her roots.

Saw me melt
   into your
      native shelter
Where you carved my 
   name
Paper tigers scare me
   and came

Despite the perfect calm of the song, there is a hint of that rawness in her voice which can be heard in Tori's live performances, as well as in some of her earliest recordings - Y Kant Tori Read. It's like she goes to live inside the song, or lets the song live within her.

The song, preceded by Carbon, is followed by Wampum Prayer.

CST Approved

In addition to its meaning of insanity or ludicrousness, crazy has taken on a slang usage in American English. In informal speech, the word has developed an adverbial meaning from its original usage as an adjective. Some examples:

Shit guys, it's crazy cold out there. We might wanna bring extra jackets.

That kid's folks're crazy rich. Absolutely loaded.

Careful, she's crazy pissed about that snark you made last night!

By an association of manic, raving behavior with insanity, crazy gained a general meaning of 'excessiveness' that eventually allowed it to function as a slang equivalent of 'really' or 'very.' In it's usage, it has a stronger undertone than its standard-language counterparts of something unreasonable, amazing, or over-the-top.

The development of an adjective into an adverb unmarked by the -ly ending is not unprecedented in the English language. Most people are familiar with the New England habit of using 'wicked' in this way. In fact, you could replace crazy with wicked in the first sentence above and retain the same meaning, though such a substitution may not be possible or common for the next two sentences.

While 'wicked' seems to be an independent development of the New England region, 'crazy' is probably a borrowing from African-American Vernacular English (sometimes referred to as Ebonics). AAVE frequently sheds the -ly ending of its adverbs due to a process of creolization that strips words of their morphological endings and alters word-order or sentence structure to recreate the same grammatical meanings, allowing adjectives to do double-duty without any modification. This does not constitute 'dumbing down' the language, just a development due to unique circumstances of contact and linguistic segregation of the African-American community. German, for example, also refrains from modifying its adjectives when they're used as adverbs (and no one accuses German of being a 'dumbed down' language, I can assure you).

A further extention of the AAVE conjecture demonstrates similarity and compatability between the slang usage of crazy and that of 'bigass.' Bigass has a similar intensifying effect, and has branched into further forms like 'hugeass' and 'dumbass.' In fact, crazy and ass can be joined in slang usage to yield a combined meaning of the two--intensifying and suggesting insanity:

I'm a crazyass mofo. Watch yerself!

To the best of my knowledge, the general intensifying usage of 'crazy' is confined to relatively urban environments, and may be limited to the Midwest of the United States. I was utterly incorrect on that count. 'Crazy' has hit both coasts and the suburbs. If any noders know more about the slang's regional spread, I'd appreciate hearing from them.


Ichiro2k3 makes the double-whammy observation that he's heard it in suburban New England.

Milk notes, "Staten Island New Yorkers, at least, are fond of 'mad'."

vebelfetzer notes, "We use it here in Seattle the same way, as well as 'insane'. Insane has not yet become an adverb, but it seems to be headed that way. Online, alternate spellings/pronounciations are gaining popularity, particularly "crazeh"."

"Crazy" is also a song by the band Aerosmith off the album Get a Grip, also released as a single and most notable for its titillating music video. The music video, by director Marty Callner, cuts between shots of the band performing the song in concert and scenes of two schoolgirls on a road trip, played by 18-year-old Alicia Silverstone and Steven Tyler's 17-year-old daughter, Liv. With a supply of schoolgirl giggles and guffaws that would feed a family of four for a year, if families of four ate giggles, the two girls make their way flirtatiously from one episode to the next in their black Ford Mustang convertible. These girls don't seem to take anything seriously.

The girls' road trip begins with them cutting class -- Alicia by climbing out a bathroom window, getting her school-uniform skirt caught on the latch -- and driving off and out of L.A. in said black Mustang convertible, shedding off their school uniforms. The first episode of their trip takes to some back-road gas station to fill up, where an bald, creepy guy sits by the door, leering and making lewd facial gestures at the girls, especially as Liv inadvertantly waves her behinds at him while pumping. Liv seems to get a kick out of this. In the station's convenience store, the clerk, a stereotypical slacker almost directly out of Clerks, turns a blind eye as they shoplift half the entire store. In exchange, the two sneak into the store's instant photo booth (did most back-road gas station convenience store have instant photo booths back in the '90s?) to take some revealing photos of themselves. As they hand the strip of photos to the dude at the counter, his overacted reaction says everything.

Next, their Mustang pulls by a back-road strip club, where, by chance, it is "amateur night", prize money being 500 smackeroos. Alicia convinces Liv to enter into the competition, but it doesn't seem like Liv needed much convincing. Alicia puts on a gangster suit and a hat; Liv puts on some silver undergarments and a loose-fitting top; and they go into the club. The bouncer balks at their fake IDs, but somehow they still make it in. The best part of the video is Liv's strip tease number, where she mimics for the audience her father's concert moves -- including shaking out of hair, spitting, and high-kicking -- which the video cross-cuts with hers. Needless to say, Liv wins the prize, and the flirt-train drives on.

The last episode in the video has the two girls driving by a field where a hunky farmer boy is riding a tractor. The girls pick him up, and convince him to go swimming with them in some pond (probably a bad idea, seeing what kind of parasites proliferate in standing water). The boy takes off his clothes, which seems to startle the girls, who apparently never heard of skinny dipping. In any case, the girls run off back to the car and drive away, leaving the boy to run after them stark naked. He catches up and jumps back into the car, putting his arms around the two girls. The video ends with a shot of the field, in which the boy's tractor, unattended, has tilled the word "Crazy" in cursive.

The full version of the video has an epilogue, in which the two girls drive by a hitchhiker, who is dressed in all black and sunglasses and is carrying way too much luggage. They don't pick him up, and the hitchhiker seems incredibly upset at that. The girls, characteristically, giggle some more. I'm not sure what this epilogue is supposed to mean, but maybe some of you can illuminate me.

Apparently, there is a "director's cut" version of the video, which includes some behind-the-scenes footage and expands the first and second episodes at the expense of the third episode.

This is one of the most classic music videos in the MTV era, rivaling such masterpieces as Fatboy Slim's Weapon of Choice and Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer.

Cra"zy (kr?"z?), a. [From Craze.]

1.

Characterized by weakness or feeblness; decrepit; broken; falling to decay; shaky; unsafe.

Piles of mean and crazy houses.
Macualay.

One of great riches, but a crazy constitution.
Addison.

They . . . got a crazy boat to carry them to the island.
Jeffrey.

2.

Broken, weakened, or dissordered in intellect; shattered; demented; deranged.

Over moist and crazy brains.
Hudibras.

3.

Inordinately desirous; foolishly eager.

[Colloq.]

The girls were crazy to be introduced to him.
R. B. Kimball.

Crazy bone, the bony projection at the end of the elbow (olecranon), behind which passes the ulnar nerve; -- so called on account of the curiously painful tingling felt, when, in a particular position, it receives a blow; -- called also funny bone. -- Crazy quilt, a bedquilt made of pieces of silk or other material of various sizes, shapes, and colors, fancifully stitched together without definite plan or arrangement.

© Webster 1913.

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