The title of the following article posted today by CNBC uses the expression going loco with quotation marks.

"Trump doubles down on Fed attacks, saying it’s ‘going loco’"

(Video from CNN at 0:46)

Loco, as suggested by Dictionary.com is an AmE slang expression:

  • Slang. out of one's mind; insane; crazy. (1835–45, Americanism; < Spanish: insane)

and a Google Book search suggests a limited usage of go/going loco vs go/going crazy.

I suppose the cited article used quotation marks because the expression is very informal and uncommon in writing, but is it commonly used and understood in speaking nowadays? or is it sort of old-fashioned expression?

  • How old is "old fashioned"? It’s in a song from the 80s. – Pam Oct 11 '18 at 7:12
  • @Pam - I am referring more to everyday usage in informal conversations. – user 66974 Oct 11 '18 at 7:14
  • Not Books, because it's slang. – Kris Oct 11 '18 at 7:24
  • 2
    "I suppose the cited article used quotation marks because the expression is very informal and uncommon in writing"—I think the explanation is simpler than that: the most natural interpretation of quotation marks in the title of a news article is that they indicate a direct quotation. – herisson Oct 11 '18 at 7:35
  • 3
    You might also consider that he's fairly old and, like most old people trying to use modern slang, is outdated by a few years. Personally, I haven't heard that expression used by people my age in about a decade. – SomethingDark Oct 11 '18 at 7:49

Is “going loco” a common AmE expression?

loco OED

colloq. orig. U.S. regional (western). Mad, insane, crazy; off one's head. Frequently in to go loco.

As in:

“A vote for Republicans is a vote . . . to reclaim America’s true heritage and righteous destiny. We’re losing that with these crazy loco people,” he said on Saturday. Washington Post 2018


Crazy as the Kings are, they’re not loco enough to trade him to their hated division rival. Forbes 2015


He smiled and jokingly called Kemp “loco” -- the Spanish word for crazy. Los Angeles Times 2014


Central Bankers Defend Fed After Trump Accuses It of ‘Going LocoBloomberg Oct. 11, 2018

Yes, it is used frequently enough in AmE to be understood.


You may not find it much in nGrams because the term is informal.

"The Influence of Spanish on the English Language since 1801: A Lexical Investigation," Julia Schultz, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018, (GoogleBooks) has this to say:

(3.3) Adjectives … loco, adj. (1852).

"… originally recorded in regional AmE, translates as "crazy" or "mad," just like its Spanish source term. It can also be used in the phrase to go loco in present-day English, as in:

2003 National Post (Toronto) 3 June al2/4. It was at the MacKay party … where political animals actually went loco on the dance floor (OED3)

From Spanish loco; 1852. Note the present-day phrase to go loco mentioned above, the example cited is dated 2003 and the book is published this year.

Of course, Kevin D. Burns Jr., "Brown Lady," in "Heart… Who Goes There?" 2010 p.13 (GoogleBooks)

I know it sounds crazy but you're mybrown skin lady
And I go loco over your caramel complexion
You're my prime investment
The one I put mytime in
The reason why this poem goes on line after line and …

  • 1
    Thanks, but you say nothing about current usage – user 66974 Oct 11 '18 at 7:49
  • 1
    2003 is not too old, and 2010 is in the present decade. And we sure have Donald Trump, too. – Kris Oct 11 '18 at 8:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.