Going Bananas – Idiom, Meaning & Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

I don’t know what you imagine when you hear the word bananas, but I always picture Gwen Stefani. Even when someone says going bananas or gone bananas, I still think of the iconic music video where she’s spelling out the word. But what does it mean when someone says you’re “going bananas”? It’s an interesting answer, and I’ll explain it all right here.

What Does Going Bananas Mean?

Going Bananas Idiom Meaning Origin

“Going bananas” is a really popular idiomatic expression, and it means to become super excited, emotional, or even irrational about something. You can also use the phrase to talk about someone who is acting wild and unpredictable. And you can say it in a few different ways.

  • Gone bananas
  • Going bananas
  • Went bananas
  • Go bananas

Is ‘Go Bananas’ an Idiom?

Since idioms aren’t literal phrases, “go bananas” is definitely an idiom because we don’t actually turn into a bushel of yellow fruit. It’s just a silly way of saying “going crazy.”

What’s the Origin of Going Bananas?

The origin is a strange one. So, back in the 1960s, when someone was bananas, it actually meant that they were a mage pervert. I know, weird, right? Especially considering how we use the phrase today.

Over the years, it somehow morphed into a lighthearted way of saying someone was crazy or acting a little too wild about something they’re excited about. It likely derived from the similar saying “going ape.”

Synonyms for ‘Going Bananas’

If “going bananas” doesn’t really suit the context or vibe you’re going for, try on some of these synonyms for size.

Sentence Examples Using Going Bananas

Going Bananas Idiom Meaning Origin 1
  • I bought my son the full Captain Underpants collection, and he went bananas over it.
  • My daughter goes bananas every time we get McDonald’s as a treat on the weekends.
  • We introduced our kid to drawing apps, and she’s gone totally bananas for animation. Now she’s set on going to film school.
  • Even though I already have a copy of that book, I went bananas over the just-launched special edition and paid a fortune for it.
  • My husband is going to go bananas when he sees that the kids broke the basement window while playing baseball in the backyard.
  • My publisher set an insane deadline for my next project, and I’m just going bananas every day trying to get it done.
  • Those concert tickets are impossible to get, so my bestie is going to go bananas when I show her.

Crazy Go Bananas!

“Going bananas” is just a silly way to describe people experiencing high levels of excitement or stress. Whether you’re talking about a friend who is freaking out over a new job or a co-worker who’s going berserk over a project deadline, using this idiom can help you convey your meaning in a playful and memorable way. So, the next time you see someone going bananas, remember it’s not just about the fruit; it’s about the emotions.