Vocab Upgrade: 30 English Words, Phrases and Idioms to Use Instead Of “Crazy”

Vocab Upgrade: 30 English words, phrases and idioms to use instead of "crazy"

In this lesson, you’re going to learn some words, phrases and idioms for “crazy.” Be sure to check out 66 Negative Personality Adjectives, too.

When we call people“crazy,” what do we really mean? Do we mean that they are just being fun? Do we mean that they’re annoying us? Or do we mean that they seriously need to go to hospital?

In fact, it could be any of these answers.

Rember that how we say a word can change the meaning. Listen to these examples. Can you hear the difference?

“Oh, you’re so crazy.”
“Eugh… He’s being crazy again.”
“Actually, he’s crazy.”

But it’s also useful to know some different words for “crazy.” Here are some other words for “crazy,” ranked from informal to formal and fun to serious.

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Words to use instead of crazy

Crazy Vocabulary: wacky, loony, kooky, eccentric, bonkers, crackpot, nut, nuts, lunatic, crazy, unstable, fruitcake, raving, psycho, maniac, unhinged, mental, deranged, insane, mad, psychopathic

OK. Let’s look at these in detail:


Crazy Vocabulary: kooky, eccentric, wacky, loony

Meet Tammy.

Tammy’s fun and silly. She says strange things that somehow make you laugh. Sometimes you go to meet her in the pub, and she’s decided to wear a gorilla costume.

a woman and a gorilla in a cafe

There’s nothing wrong with her. She likes life and likes making herself and other people laugh.


Crazy Vocabulary: unstable, mental, mad, crackpot, nuts, unhinged, nut, lunatic, bonkers, crazy

This is Archie.

Sometimes Archie is great fun to be with. When you hang out with Archie, you do things that you wouldn’t normally have the courage to do by yourself.

Your more conservative friends don’t like him, but he makes your life a bit more exciting and without him you would never have gone hitchhiking with those very strange people who didn’t smile, or gone skinny dipping (swimming without clothes) in the lake at midnight.

But sometimes Archie is too much and can be really annoying.

Again there’s nothing wrong with him. But he can just take things too far and upset or even frighten some of your calmer friends. Sometimes too much of Archie can be a bad thing.

That’s why we can use these words both positively or negatively. It depends on how you say it and sometimes who you’re saying it to.

Other ways to use these words
Crazy, bonkers, nuts and mad

We can use all four of these words to mean “angry.” Make sure to use the verb “go” if you want to describe the action:

He’s going to go nuts when he sees what you’ve done to his car.

She went nuts after she got him down from there.


This word can also be used as an adjective to mean crazy, but when it’s an adjective we use it with words like “plan,” “idea” and “scheme.”

He had a crackpot scheme to move Britain to the Caribbean to improve the cold winters.


OK. This is when things aren’t funny at all any more.

Although we can use these words in jest (in a fun way) with friends:

AUDIO — “Man! You’re insane!”

…these words are normally used to describe serious psychological conditions.

Selver is not “kooky”and we probably wouldn’t use a softer word like “bonkers” to describe him. He needs to go to the hospital.

Other ways to use these words

We can use this word to describe someone who’s an extreme fan of something — sometimes such a big fan that it seems crazy to us:

Have you met Gordon? I’ve never met such a Star Wars maniac.

So those are the people we’ve all probably met at least once in our lives and the different words we can use to describe them.

But a post about craziness wouldn’t be complete without the idioms we can use to describe crazy people.

Idioms to describe crazy people

Here are seven common crazy idioms:
He or she is:

off his rocker
away with the fairies
a basket case
out of her mind
not all there
not playing with a full deck (of cards)

He or she has:

got a screw loose

Phrases with “crazy”

We started this post by talking about the word “crazy,” so let’s finish with it!

It’s the most common of all the words we’ve looked at today. What’s more, we can use it in different ways:

Drive someone crazy

Do you remember Archie? Sometimes he’s fun. But sometimes he’s annoying, right? When he’s annoying he can really drive you crazy. This simply means that he “makes you angry.”

Can you stop singing that stupid song? It’s driving me crazy.

Crazy about (or for) someone/something

Do you know that feeling when you really, really like something or someone? You can’t stop thinking about it until it feels like you’re going crazy. That’s what this means:

He hasn’t done any work since he met her. He’s completely crazy about her.

Go crazy with something

I’m going to start with an example first:

I don’t like his cooking. He just goes crazy with the salt.

Can you figure out (guess) the meaning here?

When you go crazy with something, it simply means that you use far too much of it.

Do something like crazy

Let me describe a situation:

You have 16 guests at your house and you have to cook them a meal.

But there’s no food in the house.

What do you do?

Well, it’s clear, right? You go to the shop.

But there’s one problem. It closes in 5 minutes. So you run to the shop and you shop at 100 miles per hour.

And you shop like crazy.

This means that you do something in a way that looks crazy because it’s in panic or it’s super fast.

So, now you know how to describe craziness in different ways.

Do you have any crazy friends? Are they a Tammy or an Archie (or a Selver)?

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? If you have a great story, please leave it in the comments. I think it would make great reading!

Want more? Get a free month of Gymglish, a daily English workout with a fun, engaging narrative and personalised corrections. Get it here.

12 thoughts on “Vocab Upgrade: 30 English Words, Phrases and Idioms to Use Instead Of “Crazy”

  1. Hello Grabriel!
    Let me tell you, I’ve a friend, actually he’s my best friend and he’s also a very religious person, but when we’re in a meeting sharing and chatting with other friends, he’s the soul of the party, I mean, he’s a little insane sometimes, ’cause he makes us laugh a lot with his jokes and stories. I love that guy.

  2. We all have a crazy side … but it depends on the situation and people we are dealing with .the description and even the understanding of this word can differ from one person to another. Means what is a bonker for me is a psycho for another person.

  3. Hello
    firstly,I waint to know u that English isn’t my mother’s language . I found your way or words of writing and describing are very ,a very intersting one .Really , they inspired me a lot .

  4. Hi Gabriel,
    I absolutely loved reading your blog. I’ve recommended it to my daughter as well. I think it’s super cool that you put some names and use a set of words to describe their personalities or behaviors. It’s an easy and fun way to teach younger kids .
    Thankyou . Good work! Looking forward to more interesting words.

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