Barking mad

Origin of: Barking mad

Barking mad

Barking mad means extremely mad, where barking is simply an intensifier, but does the word mad really need one? Perhaps there are degrees of madness, on a scale from slightly dotty to stark raving. Barking mad one feels is close to the latter end. In any event, the expression dates from the 1930s and presumably the allusion is to a mad, barking dog.