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From doolally tap (“camp fever; (by extension) eccentricity; madness”), with doolally interpreted as an adjective. Doolally is derived from the Deolali transit camp, a former British army camp about 100 miles (160 kilometres) northeast of Bombay, India, used as a transit station for soldiers awaiting transport back to Britain; while tap (“Indian malarial fever”) is from Persian or Urdu تب (tab, “malarial fever”), ultimately from Sanskrit ताप (tāpa, “fever; heat; pain, torment”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /duːˈlæli/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /duˈlæli/
- Rhymes: -æli
- Hyphenation: doo‧lal‧ly
doolally (comparative more doolally, superlative most doolally) (chiefly UK, slang)
- (originally military slang) Eccentric; insane, mad.
- Synonyms: (dated) doolally tap; see also Thesaurus:insane
- [1920, Richard King [pseudonym; Richard King Huskinson], “How I Came to Make ‘History’!”, in Over the Fireside with Silent Friends, London: John Lane, The Bodley Head; New York, N.Y.: John Lane Company, →OCLC, page 149:
- "Will you write me an Essay on Corsets?" / "On what?" I asked incredulously—knowing that he had been a distinguished soldier, and suspecting that he had suddenly developed what the soldiers describe as "a touch of the doolally."]
- 1932, James Lansdale Hodson, chapter II, in North Wind, London: Faber and Faber […], →OCLC, page 26:
- "When you've got any God's amount of brains," said Frobisher, "you can pretend to be doolally; […]"
- 1965, New English Dramatists (Penguin Plays), number 8, Harmondsworth, Middlesex [London]: Penguin Books, →OCLC, page 40:
- Doolally tap. It's the strain see – and it gets the doolally lads first.
- 1973, Maureen Duffy, chapter II, in I Want to Go to Moscow: A Lay, London: Hodder and Stoughton, →ISBN, page 61:
- They were all doolally of course, except Philomela.
- 1993, Blake Morrison, “Foetal”, in And When Did You Last See Your Father?, London: Granta Books in association with Penguin Books, published 1994, →ISBN, page 66:
- [H]e took three sleeping-pills in the night, so he says, and he's all doped and doolally now. I need your help to move him.
- 2000, Patrick Gale, “Blue House”, in Rough Music, New York, N.Y.: Ballantine Books, published May 2001, →ISBN, page 54:
- "Now you're being silly. Promise you'll put me in a home when I get really doolally." / "If you're really doolally you won't know if I have or not." / "So promise."
- 2009, Helen Cross, “Amir”, in Spilt Milk, Black Coffee, London; Berlin: Bloomsbury Publishing, published 2010, →ISBN, page 212:
- The cat scrap at the bridal bash only made him more doolally.
- 2011 September 10, Simon Beaufoy, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, spoken by Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor), 38:50 from the start:
- But then, doolally as this enterprise clearly is, I've had the most pleasant day I can remember having in a long time.
- (by extension) Carried away by enjoyment, excitement, etc.
- 1999 May 13, Bill Brewster; Frank Broughton, quoting Pete Tong, “Pete Tong: Essential Selector: Interviewed by Bill and Frank in London, May 13, 1999”, in The Record Players: The Story of Dance Music Told by History’s Greatest DJs, London: Virgin Books, published 2012, →ISBN, page 424:
- You are there to entertain. Education is something we like doing. That's not actually the biggest thing on the night, when people are queuing to get in and paying their money. They want to go doolally to their favourite records.
- 2016, M. G. Leonard [pseudonym; Maya Gabrielle], “The Entomology Vaults”, in Beetle Boy, Frome, Somerset: Chicken House, →ISBN, page 49:
- 'I've never had a pet before,' Darkus gazed happily at Baxter [a beetle]. 'Thank you.' / 'That's all right, lad.' Uncle Max threw his hands up in defeat. 'I can hardly say no, when I know Barty would say yes.' / Darkus looked up, surprised. 'He would?' / 'Of course! A handsome hexapod like this? He'd be doolally about it!'
- 2021, Kaz Cooke, “Sit Down & Shoosh”, in You’re Doing It Wrong: A History of Bad & Bonkers Advice to Women, [Hawthorn, Vic.]: Viking, →ISBN, page 35:
- Australia went doolally for the visit: the Queen [Elizabeth II] waved away flies in 57 towns over 58 days; inspected an endless row of sheeps' arses in Wagga; ate Australia-shaped sandwiches with Vegemite borders at a reception in Rockhampton; and said hello to a bedridden woman in Hobart who was trundled four miles for the meeting.
eccentric — see eccentric
carried away by enjoyment, excitement, etc.
- ^ “doolally, adj.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2021; “doolally, adj.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
- ^ “tap, n.4”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2018.
- doolally (disambiguation) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- Michael Quinion (created July 14, 2001, last updated April 19, 2007), “Doolally tap”, in World Wide Words.