Definition of doolally in English:

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Pronunciation: /duːˈlali/


British informal
1Temporarily deranged or feeble-minded: Uncle’s gone doolally again
More example sentences
  • But I see I've come a ways from Bombay and renaming, though you could make a case that those who go gaga over renaming are going doolally.
  • I went doolally at them, but they responded brilliantly.
  • Well, nothing will more convince you that the whole of western civilisation is utterly, howlingly, stark-staringly, foamingly doolally than the collection will.
1.1Transported with excitement or pleasure: a return on capital that the City would go doolally over


Early 20th century: originally doolally tap, Indian army slang, from Deolali (the name of a town with a military sanatorium and a transit camp) + Urdu tap 'fever'.

  • This British term for ‘temporarily insane’ originated in India in the military sanatorium at Deolali, which also doubled as a transit camp where soldiers would await their boat home at the end of their duty tour. As boats only left between November and March, some soldiers were there for many months, during which boredom set in and behaviour began to deteriorate. Men could go doolally, the Englishman's pronunciation of ‘Deolali’.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: doo|lally

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