Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Full of barm; foamy.
  • adj. Eccentric; daft.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. containing barm, i.e. froth from fermented yeast
  • adj. dotty, goofy, wacko.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Full of barm or froth; in a ferment.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Containing or resembling barm or yeast; frothy.
  • Hence Barmy-brained; empty-headed.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. informal or slang terms for mentally irregular
  • adj. marked by spirited enjoyment

Etymologies

Sense 2, alteration of balmy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English beorma ("yeast") (Wiktionary)
Probably an alteration of balmy (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It's also fun to find out, via these collected letters, the types of books and movies Farrell was consuming while writing and editing Troubles: Cold Comfort Farm, Thomas Hardy ( "barmy"), The Garden of Finzi-Continis, Easy Rider.

    A Different Stripe:

  • Rules and regulations are never anything other than "barmy" and planning strategies are invariably "Soviet-style".

    Society Daily 07.07.10

  • In London, the Foreign Office says the idea of Britain in NAFTA is "barmy," as it would have to pull out of the EU entirely.

    Continental Drift?

  • In a further twist to this story, Baker must know that there is absolutely nothing he, as an MP, can do about changing what he condemns as a "barmy" directive.

    How we are governed

  • BIRMINGHAM MEP Mike Nattrass is determined to prove there are no flies on him by rallying against a "barmy" EU directive outlawing pepper from insect traps.

    Archive 2007-02-01

  • Shadow Home Secretary David Davis called the idea "barmy".

    Archive 2005-08-01

  • Mrs Hill described her sacking as "barmy" and said she would be opening a bottle of champagne to celebrate her victory.

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • The report colorfully describes Choudary as "barmy," but as is so often the case, the idea of Muslims 'conquering Rome as a prelude to the end of days comes from Muhammad himself.

    Winds Of Jihad By SheikYerMami

  • Boris Johnson today slammed "barmy" health and safety rules after a

    Evening Standard - Home

  • Traditionalists have branded the ban 'barmy', saying that red ink makes it easier for children to spot errors and improve.

    Home | Mail Online

Comments

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  • I'm surprised no one has pointed out how similar this word sounds to Barney. Once I live to see the day Barney goes barmy, I can die peacefully. ;-)

    July 25, 2009

  • ... that miscible rendering (undistill’d) of sheer barmy Discovery up against hare-brain’d Gossip ...
    John Latta, Isola di Rifiuti

    December 19, 2006