Today I encountered the word "batso" and I understood from context it meant "crazy". It interested me because it sounds like an Italian word "pazzo" which means "crazy".

I looked it up and it indeed means "crazy", but has nothing to do with "pazzo". It's just bats + o, there's also nuts + o. I guess these are very American constructions. Am I right? Do British people use these words and such words?

Could you give more example of such words with "o" at the end? Does this o-adding sound right with all adjectives?

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    @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica I think in this case there is the additional influence of weirdo and psycho, with nutso and batso falling somewhere on a spectrum in between.
    – choster
    Jan 26 at 16:21
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    @choster: weirdo and psycho sound relatively "American" to me (as does wacko - I should have cited fatso as a "typically British" usage in the first comment). But personally, my first thought if I saw nutso or batso would probably be "non-native speaker trying things out". So I stand by my advice that even though it's still at least slightly productive, most non-native speakers would do well to avoid using any variants they haven't seen very often used by the natives. Jan 26 at 16:32
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    (There's also the question of whether things like psycho, typo, nympho, slo-mo, homo should be counted as examples of this "suffix", as opposed to being simply "abbreviations".) Jan 26 at 16:36
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    No, this is not something that sounds right with all adjectives -- did you mean nouns? If it did, you'd see a zillion more examples, not just the few that we've all come up with here. Jan 26 at 17:58
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    "Today I encountered the word "batso" Please tell us where you encountered it. Online? in a conversation? Was it spoken by an American, Australian, Briton, etc? We need context. Australians are more prone to adding "o" than Brits. Jan 26 at 18:17

Fundamentally, no, a British person would be very unlikely to use "batso" or "nutso", and I can't think of anything similar in common useage that does end with a 'gratuitous' letter O.

These words have a particularly American feel to them, though there are numerous slang terms that are similar on the surface.


The (generally, diminutive) -o suffix occurs in terms like Hey there, kiddo! and He's completely wacko! And it's still slightly "productive" (e.g. - Paxo for broadcaster Jeremy Paxman). But it's not very common, and I would strongly advise non-native speakers against trying to incorporate it in their own speech. Mostly, it just won't work. It could be seen as highly "affected" in exclamations like No problemo!, or "domain-specific" with variants like journo (journalist).

- FumbleFingers

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