Posted by Gary on December 16, 2004

In Reply to: Selenium posted by Lewis on December 16, 2004

: : 'Crazy as a loon' is a phrase heard often around these parts, and while this particular area has abundant lakes and loons, I have never known the loons to be crazy.
: : I have checked the archives and there is a vague reference to 'looney' in one previos thread. There is also a lunatic, lunar reference.
: : If this has already been disussed, I apologise, but, beside the obvious, is there a connection between crazy as a loon, looney and lunatic?

: simple one this - obviously the word 'lunar' refers to the moon - in ancient times, when lives were thought to be influenced by celestial bodies, it was believed that some people were adversely influenced by the moon, which took their sanity: they were called 'lunatics'. the word lunatic was often shortened to 'loony' and thence to 'loon'.

: maybe an astrologer will explain the supposed malevolent influence of the moon.

: L

I'm sure that's right about the lunar origin. There is a breed of duck called a loon too. In Macbeth there's a line that seems to allude both to the moon and to our feathered friends.

The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!
Where gott'st thou that goose look?