American English

Definition of insane adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1seriously mentally ill and unable to live in normal society Doctors certified him as insane. The prisoners were slowly going insane. opposite sane Thesaurusmentally illinsane depressed neurotic psychotic disturbed unstableThese words all describe someone who is suffering from a mental illness.mentally ill suffering from an illness of the mind, especially in a way that affects the way you think and behaveinsane [not usually before noun] (somewhat formal) suffering from a serious mental illness and unable to live in normal society:The question is, was the woman insane when she committed the crime? In informal English, insane can describe someone who is not suffering from a mental illness but whose mind does not work normally, especially because they are under pressure. This meaning is used especially in the phrases go insane and drive somebody insane.depressed (medical) suffering from a medical condition in which a person feels very sad and anxious over a long period of time, and often has physical symptoms such as being unable to sleep:He was diagnosed as clinically depressed. In informal English, depressed is sometimes used to describe someone who is just feeling very sad, but in correct medical usage it only describes people who feel very sad for weeks at a time.neurotic (medical) suffering from or connected with neurosis (= a mental illness in which a person suffers strong feelings of fear and worry):the treatment of anxiety in neurotic patients In informal English neurotic is also used to describe someone who is not suffering from a mental illness, but is not behaving in a calm way because they are worried about something:He became neurotic about keeping the house clean.psychotic (medical) suffering from or connected with psychosis (a serious mental illness in which thought and emotions lose connection with external reality). In informal English, psychotic is sometimes used to describe anyone suffering from a mental illness, but in correct medical usage it only describes people who have difficulty relating to external reality. It contrasts with neurotic which describes people who are less seriously mentally ill and are still able to distinguish what is real from what is not.disturbed mentally ill, especially because of very unhappy or shocking experiences:He works with emotionally disturbed children.unstable having emotions and behavior that are likely to change suddenly and unexpectedlyPatterns neurotic/psychotic/disturbed/unstable behavior neurotic/psychotic illnesses/disorders/symptoms/patients seriously mentally ill/depressed/neurotic/psychotic/disturbed emotionally/mentally disturbed/unstable
  2. 2the insane noun [plural] people who are insane a hospital for the insane
  3. 3(informal) having a mind that does not work normally If I have to stay any longer, I'll go insane. synonyms at crazy
  4. 4(informal) very stupid, crazy, or dangerous I must have been insane to agree to the idea. This job is driving me insane (= making me feel very angry). see also insanity
  5. Thesauruscrazyinsane nuts bananas out of your mind (not) in your right mindThese are all informal words that describe someone who has a mind that does not work normally. Nearly all of the words in this set are offensive if used to describe someone suffering from a real mental illness; use mentally ill instead.crazy (informal) used to describe someone whose mind does not work normally or whose behavior is very strange or out of control:Have you met the crazy old lady upstairs?insane (informal) having a mind that does not work normally:If I have to stay any longer, I'll go insane. Insane is also used as a legal term for someone who is not responsible for a crime they have committed because they were not able to know right from wrong at the time.nuts [not before noun] (very informal) crazy:He's driving me nuts!bananas (very informal) crazy:You guys are bananas!out of your mind (informal) unable to think or behave normally, especially because of extreme shock or anxiety:She was out of her mind just before the exam.(not) in your right mind (informal) (not) mentally normal:No one in their right mind would want to work there.Patterns to be crazy/insane/nuts/bananas/out of your mind/not in your right mind to do something to go crazy/insane/nuts/bananas/out of your mind to drive somebody crazy/insane/nuts/bananas/out of their mind completely/absolutely crazy/insane/nuts/bananas/out of your mind
adverb He is insanely jealous.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: insane