When did guano become associated with mental instability?

Batshit insane. I use it, you use it, we all use it. Why?

For me, the time can be precisely fixed: 9:41pm today.

[Sorry - hit POST too soon].

I meant 3:41 - the time of the OP. That’s the first time I’ve heard this expression.

“Bats in the belfry” was a common idiom connected to madness. After a while, the association was so taken for granted that someone might simply be described as “batty” with no room for confusion.

Since “bat” already had this assocation, the addition of “shit” works literally and also as a sort of intensifier.

Batshit shows up first in print about the 1950’s in military speak to mean rubbish and bullshit. By 1970, it meant crazy. Probably derived from bullshit.

You can find people saying “batshit crazy” and “batshit insane” by the late 1980’s.

Come to think of it, is guano actually batshit? I thought it was from a kind of bird.

It’s interesting that different types of animal waste have come to mean different things:

Batshit means crazy.
Apeshit means berserk.
Bullshit means lies or nonsense.
Chickenshit means petty (as in “chickenshit outfit”).

I guess horseshit has the same meaning as bullshit - I’ve never been able to sense any difference in the way people use the words.

Merriam-Webster Online
Etymology: Spanish, from Quechua wanu fertilizer, dung : a substance composed chiefly of the excrement of seafowl and used as a fertilizer;
also : a similar substance (as bat excrement or cannery waste) especially when used for fertilizer

CMC fnord

Having visited Carlsbad Carverns a number of times, I can testify that the term guano is, in fact, extended to include bat droppings. And also the fact that said droppings were once “harvested” from the caverns.

In comes up in Dr Strangelove 1964. Of course everyone remembers General Jack D. Ripper but Keenan Wynn’s character also has a unique name.

GC Mandrake: Look Colonel (looks at name tape) Batguano, if that is your real name…

So by 1964 the term was known enough to be in a movie.

Nitpick: That’s “Col. ‘Bat’ Guano.”

Renitpick that’s what it says on IMDB but it is wrong. His name tag says Batguano.

That is to say that is how I remember it. I have seen the movie dozens of times but not for a year or so. The name tag does say Batguano and I don’t think there is a space. I have never seen a military name tag with a first name but it was a movie after all. I still stand by my answer until proven wrong.

Colonel “Bat” Guano[



CMC fnord

I would have to go off what is in the movie, not what is written in some website. Many script sites are as inaccurate as IMDB. I’m not saying I’m correct, I’m saying it will take seeing the scene in question. Unfortunately I do not own it. I’m sure lissener has it somewhere in his underground movie bunker. There seems to be no pictures of Keenan Wynn in character on the entire internet, or google hates me. The best I could come up with is this. It’s the original trailer to the movie. There is a quick shot of Keenan Wynn in uniform with his name tag showing. The image is too small and goes by too quick for me to read it. Maybe someone can do something with it. If not it is still interesting to see the old trailer.

To go back to my original point, it still proves that the term was understood back to at least 1964.

Here’s a .wav file. It sounds like two distinct words to me.

“Horseshit” generally involves less malice. The way I see it, “bullshit” implies lying as a means to an end, and “horseshit” is just making stuff up for the hell of it.

I missed that reference in Strangelove, then again I missed a lot back then. Samlcem seems to always be the go to guy for anything coined. Thanks.