Posted by ESC on July 10, 2001
In Reply to: Going spare posted by mikken on July 09, 2001
: Any ideas on why "going spare" means that you're going insane?
There seems to be two uses of the word "spare."
GOING SPARE -- "going spare (U.S. equivalent: on the loose) Slang. referring to girls who are available, easy to get. But see 'go spare.'.GO SPARE - "Slang. get sore (angry); 2. go beserk 3. be baffled. See 'send spare.' SEND (SOMEONE) SPARE - (U.S. equivalent: drive someone nuts) See also 'go spare.'" From "British English from A to Zed" by Norman Schur (FirstHarperPerennial edition, 1991).
SPARE - "n. British. An attached and presumably available female or females." And SPARE - "adj. British. Out of control, furious. The word usually in the for 'go spare' has been in use since before World War II. It derives from the notion of excess." From "The Dictionary of Contemporary Slang" by Tony Thorne (Pantheon Books, New York, 1990).