adjective Slang.
insane; crazy: He's gone bats.

1915–20; see bat2, -s3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bats (bæts)
informal crazy; very eccentric
[from bats-in-the-belfry (sense 2)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"a stick, a club," O.E. *batt "cudgel," perhaps from Celtic (cf. Ir. and Gael. bat, bata "staff, cudgel"), infl. by O.Fr. batte, from L.L. battre "beat;" all from PIE base *bhat- "to strike." As a kind of paddle used to play cricket, it is attested from 1706.

"flying mammal" (order Chiroptera), 1570s, a dialect alteration of M.E. bakke, which is probably related to O.Swed. natbakka, O.Dan. nathbakkæ "night bat," and O.N. leðrblaka "leather flapper," so original sense is likely "flapper." The shift from -k- to -t- may have come through confusion
of bakke with L. blatta "moth, nocturnal insect." O.E. word for the animal was hreremus, from hreran "to shake." As a contemptuous term for an old woman, perhaps a suggestion of witchcraft (cf. fly-by-night), or from bat as "prostitute who plies her trade by night" [Farmer, who calls it "old slang" and finds Fr. equivalent "night swallow" (hirondelle de nuit) "more poetic"].

"to move the eyelids," 1847, Amer.Eng., from earlier sense of "flutter as a hawk" (1610s), a variant of bate (2) on the notion of fluttering wings.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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