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Dec 16, 2008
This week's theme
Toponyms from India

This week's words
golconda
doolally
jodhpurs
calico
tamarind

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

doolally

PRONUNCIATION:
(DU-lah-lee)

MEANING:
adjective: Irrational, deranged, or insane.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Deolali, a small town in western India. It's about 100 miles from Mumbai with an unusual claim to fame. It's where British soldiers who had completed their tour of duty were sent to await transportation home. It was a long wait -- often many months -- before they were to be picked up by ships to take them to England. Consequent boredom, and heat, turned many a soldier insane, and the word doolally was coined. At least that's the story.
More likely, soldiers who were going soft in the head were sent to the sanatorium there. At first the term was used in the form "He's got the Doo-lally tap", from Sanskrit tapa (heat) meaning one has caught doolally fever but now it's mostly heard as in "to go doolally". In Australia, they say "Calm down, don't do your lolly".

USAGE:
"The Dingle duo are seriously concerned that Jasmine's about to go doolally."
Mike Ward; What's Hot to Watch Today; Daily Star (UK); Dec 5, 2008.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today. -John F. Kennedy, 35th US president (1917-1963)

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