In Hungarian, if you want to express that something is mind-blowing, you say megáll az ész "the mind stops". (For example, the National Geographic Channel's show Brain Games is titled Megáll az ész! in Hungarian.)

In our family, if we want to go even further than that -- to really express our utter incredulity (usually at the stupidity of something) -- we add a bit of a paraprosdokian/play on words: megáll az ész... és legelni kezd, which is something like "the mind stops... and begins to graze". As in, our mind stopped not in the expected sense of reconsidering our assumptions, nor even in the "normal" metaphorical sense of hitting the stop button on the music player, but in the (rather ludicrous) sense of a four-legged animal pausing in its amblings to nibble at a likely-looking tuft of grass.

Is there a similar two-part idiom in English for being utterly flabbergasted at something? By two-part, I mean is there a basic idiom for surprise that can be intensified by extending the idiom/metaphor? (Sort of like there's "pretty please", and then there's "pretty please with a cherry on top".)

(The root cause of this question, if you will, was a post on a blog listing newly-popular baby names that end in -er, where one of the names listed was Lucifer. I wanted to express my reaction to this, and "the mind boggles" just didn't seem to come even close.)

  • "It boggles my mind that a blog listing newly-popular baby names includes Lucifer" ? Profanity is what I use to extend and intensify surprise. It doesn't get any better than my answer below, IMO. You can't be half mind fudged.
    – Mazura
    May 3, 2016 at 3:29
  • We don't seem to be getting anywhere here (I've added my VTC). You want an idiom for "the mind stops... and begins to graze" ?
    – Mazura
    May 4, 2016 at 3:14
  • I don't think it's precisely what you want, because it doesn't extend the idiom "the mind boggles," but inserting a "beyond" intensifies mind-boggling: "It's beyond mind-boggling," or mind-blowing, "that parents would name a child Lucifer". May 4, 2016 at 7:03
  • Though you might make some use of the game Boggle in extending the idiom yourself. Hm. May 4, 2016 at 7:05
  • It makes your head explode.
    – Hot Licks
    May 4, 2016 at 17:54

4 Answers 4


There doesn't seem to be an existing English idiom that does exactly what you'd like it to. However, based on Hank D's mention of "the mind reels," and JPmiaou's excellent suggestion, I'd offer one of these two:

The mind reels ... and loses the fish.

The mind reels ... and falls flat on its [butt].


In British English, a crazy (or extremely foolish) person can be called bonkers, but if that person is particularly "loony" and should be locked up (in a figurative sense) then they are stark raving bonkers.

  • Any parent that calls their baby Lucifer is not just bonkers, they're stark raving bonkers.

[PREDICATIVE] informal, chiefly British
Mad; crazy:
You’re stark raving bonkers!

(usually ravings)
Irrational or incoherent talk:
the ravings of a madwoman
Oxford Dictionaries

  • Yeah, I know bonkers doesn't mean "the mind boggles".
    – Mari-Lou A
    May 4, 2016 at 7:02

I could tell you but I'd get yelled at: it's called a Mind[fudge].

The adjective I find this mostly preceded by is complete: A complete [mindfudge].

Past tense, it would be utterly: utterly [mindfudged].

I suppose you could just go with mindbender.

The common adjective for that is total: A total mindbender.


  1. a person or thing that radically and suddenly affects one's thinking, perceptions, psyche, etc.
  • 2
    OK, but what would be the "level 1" version of mindfuck? I'm not looking for "idiomatic expressions of surprise" - that's what a thesaurus is for. I'm looking specifically for a two-parter, where the ordinary expression is for level 1 surprise, and you add some sort of extension to take it to level 2 surprise.
    – Marthaª
    May 3, 2016 at 3:01
  • @Marthaª - Not Safe For Work: "Best 'one' yet" –Total Recall
    – Mazura
    May 3, 2016 at 3:05
  • 1
    It's a little out of use, but I think "the mind reels" would be a +1. Or "mind-blowing".
    – Hank D
    May 3, 2016 at 3:09
  • Mind-blowing is in the question. "If you say that your brain or your mind is reeling, you mean that you are very confused because you have too many things to think about." That's confusion; not surprise.
    – Mazura
    May 3, 2016 at 3:34
  • 3
    @HankD To strictly adhere to the form given in the original question, we'd extend "the mind reels" to "the mind reels...and pulls in a fish". But that's certainly not an existing extension of the idiom. Or perhaps, "the mind reels and falls flat on its [butt]", to extend the use of profanity and go a different direction off the verb. May 4, 2016 at 7:09

Confounding seems to be a good word, especially since you want it to be stronger than mind-boggling.


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