Go Bonkers: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
January 20, 0204

The expression "go bonkers" is a colloquial way of saying that someone has become extremely excited, upset, or has lost control of their emotions. It's akin to saying, "They've gone crazy" or "They've lost it." The phrase can describe a wide range of emotions, from extreme enthusiasm about something positive to intense frustration or anger about something negative. It's a playful and informal term often used in everyday conversation to emphasize a strong reaction or change in behavior.

In short:

"Go bonkers" refers to someone becoming mad, crazy, or very excited.

What Does "Go Bonkers" Mean?

The phrase "go bonkers" vividly describes someone becoming extremely emotional or behaving in an erratic manner. It captures the essence of unpredictability and intensity.

Let's dive into its core meanings and usage:

  • A sudden surge in excitement or enthusiasm.
  • An abrupt outburst of anger or madness.
  • An exaggerated response to something unexpected.

So, if someone tells you they went bonkers after hearing a certain song, they probably mean they really enjoyed it and couldn't contain their excitement!

Where Does "Go Bonkers" Come From?

The phrase “go bonkers” is of British-English origin and means mad or crazy. The adjective “bonkers” is first recorded in the phrase “to go bonkers” and apparently as army slang, in a letter from a soldier who had recently been posted to India, published in the Daily Mirror (London) of Thursday 12th July 1945. A clue to the origin of “bonkers” appears in “A Dictionary of Forces’ Slang, 1939-1945” (Secker & Warburg – London, 1948) by Eric Partridge, Wilfred Granville, and Frank Roberts. They define “bonkers” as “light in the head; slightly drunk” (Navy) and suggest it might come from “bonk,” a blow or punch on the bonce or head.

10 Examples of "Go Bonkers" in Sentences

Let's see how the phrase can be utilized in various scenarios:

  • I thought my dog would go bonkers without his favorite toy, but he seemed just fine.
  • I never thought he could pull off such a complex project, but when he did, everyone went bonkers with excitement.
  • When I confronted him about his gaslighting tactics, he just went bonkers.
  • You scared the hell out of me when you jumped out from behind the door, and I nearly went bonkers.
  • My computer went bonkers and shut down unexpectedly.
  • After trying that new energy drink, he was high as a kite and then went bonkers.
  • They went bonkers shopping during the sale.
  • Every time he sees a squirrel, my cat goes bonkers.
  • If I eat too much sugar, I feel like I go a bit bonkers.
  • My phone went completely bonkers after the latest update.

Examples of "Go Bonkers" in Pop Culture

Popular culture has embraced this catchy phrase in various forms:

  • The song "She Drives Me Crazy" by Fine Young Cannibals captures the essence of someone going bonkers in love.
  • TV shows like "Friends" have characters who occasionally go bonkers in humorous situations.
  • Several cartoon characters, like Daffy Duck or Tom from "Tom and Jerry," often go bonkers in their antics.
  • The book "The Funny Life of Pets" by James Campbell talks about pets going bonkers.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Go Bonkers"

There are various other ways to convey the same feeling:

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Go Bonkers"

  • Is "go bonkers" a modern phrase?

No, it's believed to have originated in the 1940s.

  • Does it always mean someone is angry?

No, it can refer to excitement, surprise, or any exaggerated reaction.

  • Can the phrase refer to inanimate objects?

Yes, like saying a computer "went bonkers," meaning it malfunctioned.

  • Is it a formal expression?

No, it's more informal and colloquial.

  • Are there songs with the phrase "go bonkers"?

Several songs in popular culture use or allude to the phrase.

  • Can animals "go bonkers"?

Yes, it's a fun way to describe an animal's playful or agitated behavior.

  • Is "go barmy" similar to "go bonkers"?

Yes, "go barmy" is another informal way to say someone has lost their composure.

  • Is it offensive to say someone has "gone bonkers"?

Context matters. In a playful scenario, it's lighthearted. But it might be insensitive if referring to someone's mental health.

  • Do other languages have a similar phrase to "go bonkers"?

Many languages have their own idiomatic expressions to describe exaggerated reactions, though they might not be a direct translation.

  • Can the phrase be used in professional settings?

It's informal, so it's best to gauge the context and audience before using it in a professional scenario.

Final Thoughts About "Go Bonkers"

The phrase "go bonkers" refers to acting in a wild, crazy, or enthusiastic manner. It conveys a sense of losing control, either due to excitement, anger, or being overwhelmed.

To recap:

  • The term "bonkers" is believed to have originated in the 1940s as British slang, though its exact origins are unclear. It was used to describe something crazy or mad.
  • It is now commonly used to express extreme excitement, frustration, or any intense emotional reaction.
  • The phrase is versatile and can be applied in various contexts, from someone being overly excited about a sale at a store to being frustrated with a challenging task.
  • For example, a fan might "go bonkers" when their favorite team wins a championship, or a person might "go bonkers" trying to solve a difficult puzzle.
  • Using the phrase "go bonkers" often adds a playful or exaggerated tone to the situation, emphasizing the intensity of the reaction.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

U.S Dictionary is the premier dictionary about the English language as used in the United States of America.
Copyright © 2024 - U.S. Dictionary
Privacy Policy