The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Four – Vocabulary

What word comes to mind when you think of a scientist or a hatter? What does someone mean when they say someone has a few screws loose? Or that someone has gone bananas? Our Prince and the Pauper Chapter 4 vocab word focus for this week is…


Obviously with this word, there are many definitions. In this case we don’t mean ‘mad’ as in angry. We’re looking more at the word meaning ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’. After Tom and Edward switch places, they find that every time they try to explain who they really are, people find it easier to believe they are mad than to believe that they are telling the truth. Keep reading or watch the video below for more info.



(adj.) mentally ill; insane

insane is primarily a legal term
both ‘mad’ and ‘crazy’ are used more often casually

(medical mentall illnesses that most often qualify for the “insanity” defense in the legal sense of the word)
psychotic disorders
mood disorders
temporary insanity

doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results


  • Language of Origin: Old English
  • “gemædde”
  • Meaning/Interpretation: “out of one’s mind” (usually implying also violent excitement)

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: They say he went mad when his lover chose someone else over him.
  • Sentence from the chapter: ““Gone stark mad as any Tom o’ Bedlam!”—then collared him once more, and said with a coarse laugh and an oath, “But mad or no mad, I and thy Gammer Canty will soon find where the soft places in thy bones lie, or I’m no true man!”” (p. 18)
  • Other forms: madness (n.), madly (adv.)

But wait, there’s more!

Even though the term ‘mad’ might not be used often in the literal sense, it is used in idioms very frequently. Below are idioms that either include the word ‘mad’ or imply it.

Idioms using “mad”
Mad hatter/mad as a hatter
Barking mad
be/go stark raving mad
Drive someone mad
Do something like mad
Mad scientist
Mad about something

Idioms implying “mad”
Go bananas
Basket case
Bats in the belfry
Out of your mind
Lose one’s marbles
Not all there
Mad about something
Have a screw loose

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