- foolish and crazy
- fond of; infatuated with
- playful, giddy
Some people, when they hear the word daft, may think of Daft Punk, the electronic music duo from France. According to the Huffington Post, the band named themselves after receiving a review in which they were called "daft punky trash." Perhaps they were going for the crazy, ludicrous vibe--electronic and punk music are both often perceived as such.
Daft is most commonly used to describe someone or something that is foolish or simple-minded. You know, the type of people who view the world in the light of sunshine and butterflies? Or maybe an assignment that serves no purpose (like a scientific lab in a writing class...). A daft man may simply be blinded by his lover's beauty; it isn't his fault she possesses such captivating characteristics, but he does not see through to her conniving interior--he is daft for her, giddy with excitement when she grabs his hand.
Another form of daft means preposterous or insane. In this connotation, daft people often have a balmy, twisted state of mind. Many use daft to reference someone who is mentally ill, but the word actually translates more closely to mad and askew, not just someone who struggles with a mental illness--there is a fine line. Daftness, a derivative form of daft, is often interpreted as "disorder of the mind." Similarly, someone who is daft might be known to act through chaotic, irrational outbursts.
On a brighter note, daft can also reference someone playful, a person who is easily excited or cheerful. A person can be daft for someone or something, meaning they can be folly for a partner or friend, or perhaps fond of a particular type of food or other special object. There is nothing wrong with being daft and enjoying the many positive events in our lives. Life is too short not to be a bit daft sometimes. Just look at Christmastime, when most everyone seems to be in high spirits, extra kind and giving--it's a wonderful world! Or perhaps we are just being daft...
Example: Despite Jerry's debilitating illness, his daft wife expected him to cook and clean while she got her nails done.
Example: The daft woman wore shoes on her hands.
Example: In the movie Elf, Buddy is daft as he runs around the city in green stockings yelling "Santa's coming!"
In Old English, originating from the Proto-Germanic form gadaftjaz, meaning "to organize or put in order," the word gedæfte developed, meaning "flattering and kind." By 1200, Proto-Indo-European adapted dhabh, which means "to fit together." Originally, the word had a positive connotation that eventually became negative in English, referring to its object as thoughtless and irrational. Deft and daft share some similar roots. But, in sometimes daft ways that language evolves, these two landed up being opposites of each other. It is possible that daft and daffy ("silly or strange") may have influenced each other as they evolved.
Daftness: This noun means a disorder or chaos of the mind.
Example: She struggled with daftness, falling in and out of hallucinations.
Daftly: The adverb form of daft. It is used to describe an action to be foolish.
Example: He daftly booked a trip to Europe after losing his job and failing to pay the bills.
From Margaret Oliphant's The Wizard's Son, Vol 1:
That was a daft like thing, to charge me with a message and never to tell me what it was.
Mrs. Forrester, the speaker, was asked to relay an important message to the Lord Erradeen from a man called Mr. Shaw; but they spoke so much about the Lord and the process of relaying the message that he never even told Mrs. Forrester what the message was. Oliphant uses daft to show how foolish it was for Mr. Shaw to forget.
From Charles King's Tonio, Son of the Sierras:
Dicky Darrah never dares oppose Evvy-let alone his wife. Kate Darrah says it just serves Hal Willett right. It's no fault of hers that he's daft about Evvy, who's simply bent on giving him a lesson he richly deserves. When the Archers come she'll drop it-and him.
King, by using daft, says that Dicky Darrah is foolish when it comes to Evvy because of his feelings and thoughts of her, even though she is actually doing him wrong.
- They laughed at how daft he was for his controlling girlfriend.
- Daffy Duck can be daft sometimes.
Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of daft. Did you use daft in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.