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[buh-nan-uh z] /bəˈnæn əz/
adjective, Slang.
crazy; deranged:
All that chatter is driving me bananas.
wildly enthusiastic:
The crowd went bananas when the music began.
Origin of bananas
1965-70, Americanism; see banana, -s3


[buh-nan-uh] /bəˈnæn ə/
a tropical plant of the genus Musa, certain species of which are cultivated for their nutritious fruit.
Compare banana family.
the fruit, especially that of M. paradisiaca, with yellow or reddish rind.
1590-1600; < Spanish < Portuguese (perhaps via Sp); akin to various words for banana or plantain in WAfr languages (e.g., Wolof, Malinke banana, Vai (Mande language of Liberia) bana), but ultimate source and direction of borrowing uncertain
Can be confused
banana, plantain. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bananas
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • bananas had been ashore, drinking some native spirit, and he was drunk.

    The Trembling of a Leaf William Somerset Maugham
  • Every day his corn and bananas became more distasteful to him.

    An American Robinson Crusoe Samuel. B. Allison
  • There were bananas, and, as Jefferson recognised, lime trees in between.

    For Jacinta Harold Bindloss
  • On some islands, bread-fruit trees, pineapples, and bananas are grown.

    From Pole to Pole Sven Anders Hedin
  • Cut the bananas in halves crosswise and roll in the chopped nuts until well coated.

    Quantity Cookery Lenore Richards
British Dictionary definitions for bananas


(slang) crazy (esp in the phrase go bananas)


any of several tropical and subtropical herbaceous treelike plants of the musaceous genus Musa, esp M. sapientum, a widely cultivated species propagated from suckers and having hanging clusters of edible fruit
the crescent-shaped fruit of any of these plants Compare plantain2
Word Origin
C16: from Spanish or Portuguese, of African origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bananas

"crazy," 1968; earlier (1935) it was noted as an underworld slang term for "sexually perverted."



1590s, borrowed by Spanish or Portuguese from a West African word, possibly Wolof banana. The plant was introduced to the New World from Africa in 1516. Top banana, second banana, etc. are 1950s, from show business slang use of banana for "comedian, especially in a burlesque show." Banana split first attested 1920. Banana oil "nonsense" is slang from c.1910.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bananas



  1. Crazy; nuts: I could see that my calm was driving him bananas (1970s+)
  2. Very enthusiastic; highly excited; ape (1960s+)
  3. Homosexual (1930s+ Underworld)

Related Terms

go bananas

cool beans


Excellent; wonderful; cool, fresh, rad: Cool Beans ''superlative, a highly desirable situation'' (1980s+ Students)



  1. A comedian, esp in a burlesque show •These performers were ranked as ''top banana,'' ''second banana,'' etc (1950s+ Show business)
  2. A sexually attractive light-skinned black woman Considered offensive by the women to whom this term is applied (1940s+ Black)
  3. The penis (1916+)
  4. An Oriental sympathetic with and part of the white majority society •Because white on the inside though yellow on the outside (1980s+)
  5. A patient with jaundice (1980s+ Medical)
  6. A fool; an idiot •Attested as college slang in 1989, probably based on bananas (1920+)
  7. A crazy person; loony (1970s+)

Related Terms

have one's banana peeled, top banana

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for bananas


build absolutely nothing anywhere near anybody
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with bananas


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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