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Posted by Bob on December 23, 1999

In Reply to: Crackpot posted by Mike Hiliger on December 22, 1999

: Does anyone know the origin of the word crackpot?

I haven't found anything definitive yet, but it's fun to speculate. So, let's: most metaphors for stupidity involve deficiency (one brick short of a load, not playing with a full deck, no lights in the attic, etc.) but metaphors for irrational or erratic or foolish behavior and ideas tend to factor in outside influences (the moon, in "lunatic," "touched," "cracked," etc. So, if a foolish, irrational person's skull can be seen as a pot, the behavior could be explained in the same way you explain why the water jug leaks: it's cracked, and therefore impractical or even useless. A crackpot is a person seen as one who has taken too many (figuarative) left uppercuts to the noggin, and the physical damage is being manifested in peculiar behavior. This is, of course, all speculation... but I had fun doing it.I await better scholarship.