Imagine a murderer who has been arrested and imprisoned recenly and he has been tried in the court several times! The judging team members, have reached to an agreement on his case and unanimously believe that it has been an instantaneous insanity and "at least" they cannot sentence the murderer to death. Irrspective of the law regulations which can differ from country to country, in the following example, I need to know whether there is a normal (not too legal) verb to be used along with the term "instantaneius insanity" in English in the manner that the combination could be understood to ordinary people who have experienced academic environment (not only legal people)?

  • It was diagnosed to be an instantaneous insanity. Consequently, it is clear that he has come upon / faced / experienced an instantaneous insanity.

Do the above-mentioned bold verbs work here naturally and idiomatically or there is a/some fixed verbs to be used beside this psychological term?

Ps. It is a self-made story and I do apologize in advance because of some possible syntactic errors or mistakes in sentences' construction which can make my meaning a little unclear.

  • 1
    The term used more often in law is "temporary insanity", just FYI. And it wouldn't usually take an article in this case. "Instantaneous insanity", in this sense, doesn't seem to have been used much since the 19th century.
    – SamBC
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 14:07

2 Answers 2


As others have pointed out, the term normally heard in circumstances like this is "temporary insanity". This may or may not be a legal term, but it is commonly heard in everyday speech and writing.

As far as your question about what verb to use: of your three suggestions, "experienced" sounds the best to me: ("It is clear that he experienced temporary insanity.") N.B., no article with "temporary insanity" and simple past verb, "experienced", because by definition the temporary insanity episode is now over.

Regarding your other suggestions: "diagnosed" puts the discussion into the medical realm which isn't appropriate, "come upon" is usually used when you encounter an external object or event, and "faced" doesn't sound idiomatic to me (unless you are discussing the matter from a therapeutic point of view rather than as a criminal/police matter as it is here).

But I think there are even better ways to describe this. Even though it is more wordy and less direct, it sounds idiomatic to use the expression "a case of temporary insanity": "It is clear that it was a case of temporary insanity." Perhaps this indirect wording sounds appropriate because of the influence of legal phrasing on our thinking about matters like this.

  • Thank you very much @Lorel C, but I would be greatful if you have a look on my second example which I provided Weather Van with it! I guess "experience" doesn't sound natural in that case, while what we use as a verb in our language, can be used idiomatcally and naturally in both cases. I was wondering if "get" works here.
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 15:11
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    @ A-friend. "If someone beats him once, he can get temporary insanity and even kill him!" You could say that. Since "temporary insanity" is a kind of mental illness, you could use expressions that we use for illnesses: "He could "come down with" temporary insanity. ... I still might rather use "He could get a "case of temporary insanity." "Temporary insanity" might be quite creative and maybe not 100% usual for that conversation though. Maybe you might rather say, "He could fly into a rage and even kill him." It would be more typical usage (but less imaginative).
    – Lorel C.
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 15:44
  • Thank you very much. First of all I would like to request you to make this post an answer! Meanwhile, how abot removing "case of" in "get a case of insanity"? Would it still work? I think the most close sentence is: "He might get temporary imsanity". But the question is that if it works correctly!
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 12:33

An everyday term is the "crime of passion" defence which is sometimes used to counter a murder charge.

It can be used with the idea of "temporary insanity" to reduce the offence to manslaughter, a less serious conviction than murder.

For a single verb, your

Consequently, it is clear that he has come upon / faced / experienced an instantaneous insanity.

can be

Consequently, it is clear that he has suffered a temporary insanity.

  • Thank you very much, but based on what I am looking for, what you mentioned has increased its legal tone while I need a term which can be used in a daily basis too! Please consider that a woman can tell her spouse regarding some maniacal behaviors that their son has committed lately and in this way warn her husband about the future of their child. E.g. Woman says: (He fights everyday. He thinks that he has to damage everyone who's fighting him! I'm really worried! You see! If someone beats him once, he can get/... temporary insanity and even kill him!
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 15:05
  • I am looking for a verb which can be used along with the term "temprary insanity" in these scenarios.
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 15:06
  • Your "come upon / faced / experienced an instantaneous insanity" can be "suffered a temporary insanity". Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 15:14
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    For language purposes, I think the idioms used for mental illnesses would apply to temporary insanity: "He had a bout of temporary insanity." "He had a fit of temporary insanity." "She was suddenly seized by temporary insanity."
    – Lorel C.
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 23:30

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