Crazy’s a word, isn’t it? It does a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to describing a character or a scene. It’s funny, because crazy means so many things – but everyone gets the gist of what you’re saying if you drop it into a sentence. It’s an easy word to rely upon, and it can quickly become a crutch. Indeed, crazy is a word that’s incredibly overused. Once that happens, the word loses its power – and it becomes just another trite, useless bit of writing that marks you as a bad writer. That’s why every writer out there needs a few alternatives for that ever-useful word. It’s time to find another word for crazy.
The sheer number of synonyms for crazy exist because of the vague and often loaded nature of the term. Each of these terms means something slightly different, and they will probably serve your narrative better than the initial term. Unfortunately, the slightly different meaning of these words means they aren’t interchangeable. You can’t just copy and paste these terms in – so spend some time thinking about what they really mean, and how you can work with them. If you take the time to read over the definitions, you’ll be able to make better substitutions.
A Dozen Suggestions For Another Word For Crazy
Insane is the most clinical synonym for crazy, and it carries a weightier connotation. This is a great word to use when the situation calls for a bit more gravity.
On the other end of the spectrum, nuts is a great term to show that the scene in question is crazy in a slightly friendlier way. Nuts isn’t a term that should be used formally, of course, but it’s a more authentic term to use in casual speech.
Mad is a great synonym to use when attempting to write in historical prose or when talking specifically about insanity. Mad isn’t a particularly sensitive word to use when describing a character, but might be appropriate when describing a situation.
A psychosis is a very specific kind of insanity. While it’s not a synonm for the term in general, it does capture the essence of the word in many circumstances. Psychotic is a great way to describe a darkly insane character, while the related term “psychosis” can describe the manner in which a character is crazy.
Bonkers is a difficult term. You can’t slot it into a serious work, but it does describe a type of joyful craziness. Use it when you’re describing a childish or outlandish situation for a bit more impact.
Unhinged is a polite way of saying crazy for some, or a great way to describe a dementedly insane character for others. It isn’t a precise trade – no find and replace here – but describing a character as unhinged will often carry the same meaning as using crazy in the same sentence.
This is a violent, out-of-control type of crazy. A character who goes berserk is almost always engaging in violence, and be aware that this word almost always describes something living.
The cousin of bonkers and nuts, wacky definitely has a lighter connotation than most things on this list. Things that are cartoonishly out of control tend to fall under this heading.
When you say a situation is crazy because it’s out of control, you might as well practice an economy of words and just call it uncontrollable. If you aren’t directly talking about literal insanity, you might as well use this word in crazy’s place.
Mental is another word for crazy, and it’s definitely not a polite substitution. There’s a lot of weight attached to this word, so use it sparingly.
When a character’s described as unbalanced, it’s generally inferred that they are a bit insane. This term can be useful when writing period fiction as well, as an unbalanced mind is a great historic term.
This isn’t a friendly term, but it does mean the same thing as crazy. A lunatic is a historically accurate term for a crazy person, even if it isn’t used in polite company today.
Picking Another Word for Crazy
As you continue to look for alternative terms, try to hone in on what you really mean. Crazy’s a great term, but you can narrow down your words to be more specific. The more specific you can be, the better your descriptive writing. Finding alternative words isn’t just a way to stop repetition – it’s a way to help you better make your point.