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See also: Giddy



The adjective is derived from Middle English gidi, gedy, gydy (demonically controlled or possessed; crazy, insane; foolish, idiotic, ridiculous, unwise; unsure; (rare) dizzy, shaky; (rare) of an animal: crazed, out of control; a fool) [and other forms],[1] from Old English gidiġ, gydiġ (possessed by a demon or spirit, insane, mad), from Proto-West Germanic *gudīg (ghostly, spirited, literally possessed by a god or spirit), from *god (god) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰew- (to pour), possibly in the sense of a libation made to a deity) + *-ig, *-g (suffix forming adjectives with the senses of being, doing, or having).[2] The English word is analysable as god +‎ -y (suffix meaning ‘having the quality of’, forming adjectives).

The noun[3] and the verb[4] are derived from the adjective.



giddy (comparative giddier, superlative giddiest)

  1. (predicative only) Feeling a sense of spinning in the head, causing a perception of unsteadiness and being about to fall down; dizzy.
    Synonyms: fuzzy, fuzzy-headed, fuzzy-minded, light-headed, rattleheaded, (Scotland) shoogly, vertiginate, (Britain, dialectal) westy, woozy
    The man became giddy upon standing up so fast.
    • 1665, Robert Boyle, “Occasional Reflections. Discourse XVIII. Upon a Giddiness Occasion’d by Looking Attentively on a Rapid Stream.”, in [John Weyland], editor, Occasional Reflections upon Several Subjects. With a Discourse about Such Kind of Thoughts, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Alex[ander] Ambrose Masson; and sold by John Henry Parker, [], published 1848, →OCLC, section IV (Which Treats of Angling Improv’d to Spiritual Uses), page 277:
      [W]hilst I was thus musing, and attentively looking upon the Water, to try whether I could discover the Bottom, it happened to me, as it often does to those that gaze too stedfastly on swift Streams, that my Head began to grow giddy, and my Leggs to stagger towards the River, into which questionless I had fell, if Philaretus had not seasonably and obligingly prevented it.
    • 1865 November (indicated as 1866), Lewis Carroll [pseudonym; Charles Lutwidge Dodgson], “Pig and Pepper”, in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, London: Macmillan and Co., →OCLC, page 93:
      I wish you wouldn't keep appearing and vanishing so suddenly: you make one quite giddy.
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, “[Episode 7: Aeolus]”, in Ulysses, Paris: Shakespeare and Company, [], →OCLC, part II [Odyssey], page 141:
      They see the roofs and argue about where the different churches are: Rathmines' blue dome, Adam and Eve's, saint Laurence O'Toole's. But it makes them giddy to look so they pull up their skirts …
    • 2010 April 12, Bruce Kimmel, chapter 6, in “There’s Mel, There’s Woody, and There’s You”: My Life in the Slow Lane, Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse, →ISBN, page 143:
      Susan loved to drink wine, and I was not a drinker at all, so I'd just sit there and watch her drink glass after glass and get giddier and giddier.
  2. (attributive) Causing or likely to cause dizziness or a feeling of unsteadiness.
    Synonym: vertiginous
    They climbed to a giddy height.
  3. Moving around something or spinning rapidly.
  4. (by extension)
    1. Unable to concentrate or think seriously; easily excited; impulsive; also, lightheartedly silly; frivolous.
      Synonyms: (obsolete) brainsick, changeable, (informal) feather-headed, flighty, (obsolete) giglot, inconsistent, light-headed, (dated) overlight
      1. (dated) Used as an intensifier.
    2. Joyfully elated; overcome with excitement or happiness.
      The boy was giddy when he opened his birthday presents.
      • c. 1596–1598 (date written), W[illiam] Shakespeare, The Excellent History of the Merchant of Venice. [] (First Quarto), [London]: [] J[ames] Roberts [for Thomas Heyes], published 1600, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
        I come by note to giue, and to receiue; / Like one of tvvo contending in a prize, / That thinks he hath done vvell in peoples eyes; / Hearing applauſe and vniuerſall ſhout, / Giddy in ſpirit, ſtill gazing in a doubt, / VVhether thoſe pearles[sic – meaning peals] of praiſe be his or no.
      • 1767, “Dialogue I. Between Philip and Henry, Concerning the Importance of Early Religion.”, in The Friendly Instructor; or, A Companion for Young Ladies, and Young Gentlemen: [], 3rd edition, volume II, London: [] J. Buckland, [], →OCLC, page 4:
        But I vvonder, that either theſe good men, or my mamma ſhou'd think, becauſe they may find it pleaſant vvho are come to maturity of judgment, that ſuch as vve vvho are in the gayeſt and giddyeſt part of life ſhou'd.
      • 1843 December 19, Charles Dickens, “Stave Five. The End of It.”, in A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, London: Chapman & Hall, [], →OCLC, page 153:
        "I don't know what to do!" cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoön of himself with his stockings. "I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world. Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!"
      • 1904–1905, Baroness Orczy [i.e., Emma Orczy], “The Affair at the Novelty Theatre”, in The Case of Miss Elliott, London: T[homas] Fisher Unwin, published 1905, →OCLC, section 1; republished as popular edition, London: Greening & Co., 1909, OCLC 11192831, quoted in The Case of Miss Elliott (ebook no. 2000141h.html), Australia: Project Gutenberg of Australia, February 2020:
        [] Miss Phyllis Morgan, as the hapless heroine dressed in the shabbiest of clothes, appears in the midst of a gay and giddy throng; she apostrophizes all and sundry there, including the villain, and has a magnificent scene which always brings down the house, and nightly adds to her histrionic laurels.
    3. (British, dialectal) Feeling great anger; furious, raging.
  5. (British, dialectal, agriculture, veterinary medicine) Of an animal, chiefly a sheep: affected by gid (a disease caused by parasitic infestation of the brain by tapeworm larvae), which may result in the animal turning around aimlessly.
  6. (obsolete, figuratively) Of a thing, especially a ship: unsteady, as if dizzy.

Derived terms[edit]



giddy (plural giddies) (archaic)

  1. Someone or something that is frivolous or impulsive.
  2. (British, agriculture, veterinary medicine) Synonym of gid (a disease caused by parasitic infestation of the brain by tapeworm larvae)



giddy (third-person singular simple present giddies, present participle giddying, simple past and past participle giddied)

  1. (transitive) To make (someone or something) dizzy or unsteady; to dizzy.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, “Of Ancient Customes”, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes [], book I, London: [] Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount [], →OCLC, page 161:
      A nevv faſhion of apparrell creepeth no ſooner into vſe, but preſently he blameth and diſpraiſeth the olde, and that vvith ſo earneſt a reſolution, and vniverſall a conſent, that you vvould ſay, it is ſome kinde of madnes, or ſelfe-fond humor, that giddieth his vnderſtanding.
    • 1634, T[homas] H[erbert], “A Discourse of the Life and Habit of the Persians at this Present”, in A Relation of Some Yeares Travaile, Begunne Anno 1626. into Afrique and the Greater Asia, [], London: [] William Stansby, and Jacob Bloome, →OCLC, page 151:
      [T]he footmen vſe it [opium] too as a preſeruer of ſtrength, and vvhich is ſtrangeſt, ſo giddies them, that in a conſtant dreame or dizzineſſe, they run ſleeping not knovving vvhom they meet, and yet miſſe not their intended places: []
    • 1751, [John Cleland], “Part I”, in Memoirs of a Coxcomb, London: [] R[alph] Griffiths, [], →OCLC, page 102:
      And indeed her ovvn little head vvas ſo giddied vvith this vvonderful elevation; [] that had ſhe not really been one of the prettieſt figures that can be imagined, ſhe vvould have been inſufferable.
    • 1865, Ouida [pseudonym; Maria Louise Ramé], “Thalassis! Thalassis!”, in Strathmore: A Romance [], volume III, London: Chapman and Hall, [], →OCLC, page 275:
      [T]he hiss of the plunging shot deafening their ear and giddying the brain, with life and liberty beyond, and behind a doom more dread than death, they fled on through the heavy, breathless night.
  2. (intransitive)
    1. To become dizzy or unsteady.
    2. (obsolete) To move around something or spin rapidly; to reel; to whirl.
      Synonym: vertiginate

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ gidī, adj. and n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ giddy”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2022; giddy, adj.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  3. ^ giddy, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022.
  4. ^ giddy, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2022.

Further reading[edit]