have bats in one's belfry

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

1899,[1] from tendency of bats to fly around erratically, with “belfry” indicating “head, mind”.

Verb[edit]

have bats in one's belfry

  1. (idiomatic, intransitive) To be crazy or eccentric.
    Anyone declaring himself Emperor of San Francisco probably had bats in his belfry.
    • 1900, Mary Etta Stickney, Brown of Lost River, p254
      You would certainly take the prize for bats in the belfry!--flying off on a wild-goose chase across a country where even the geese need a compass to keep to the course.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ batty” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).