Posted by Victoria S Dennis on December 10, 2005
In Reply to: Bananas posted by ESC on December 09, 2005
: : Whats the origin of going bananas/ driving me bananas? Also round the twist??
: I've heard "round the bend" but not "round the twist." I'm from the U.S.
: Regarding bananas, see http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/39/messages/623.html
"Round the bend" dates from the 1920s. The idea behind it seems to be that while you could say that an odd person "has/takes funny turns", a mad person has gone beyond that and is completely "round the bend". "Round the twist" is a variant, first used in the 1960s. (I have certainly heard it here in England.)
You may hear people say that "round the bend" refer to the driveways of Victorian lunatic asylums - that while ordinary Victorian houses had straight driveways, lunatic asylums were built with curved ones so that the building, and its inmates, were hidden from the road. This is total rubbish. Victorian houses had curved drives quite as commonly as they had straight ones; indeed an elegant curved "sweep" up to one's front door was much admired. (VSD)