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I learned being mad can mean either being angry or being very enthusiastic. Then, I have a question.

  • John is mad about Mary.

Could it be interpreted in two ways? i.e. "John really loves Mary." and "John is very angry with Mary." Does it depend on the context?

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    Yes, exactly...
    – gotube
    Nov 19, 2022 at 3:10
  • It is more common for "loves" to be the meaning when the object is a person of object, e.g. mad about Mary or mad about his car, and for "angry" to be the meaning when the object is an incident, e.g. mad about the car accident.
    – Peter
    Nov 19, 2022 at 4:04
  • @Peter You should make your comment an answer.
    – Katy
    Nov 19, 2022 at 4:35

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Both meanings of "mad about" are possible. We can often tell from the context which is meant, but we cannot always tell.

It is more common for "loves" to be the meaning when the object is a person or an object, e.g. mad about Mary or mad about his car, and for "angry" to be the meaning when the object is an incident, e.g. mad about the car accident.

The sentence Jay is mad about doing Maths might mean she is enthusiastic about doing Maths, or it might mean she is angry that she is being forced to do Maths. We can only be certain that she does not feel neutral on the matter.

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    Note that in British English the primary meaning of mad is crazy, not angry. Unless we knew the context was American, we would understand mad about something to mean wildly enthusiastic. Nov 19, 2022 at 9:21
  • But “mad” and “mad about” are not the same. In the UK someone who is mad about football doesn’t have mental health problems.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 20, 2022 at 21:34

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