Mad as a box of frogs

Discuss word origins and meanings.
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Mad as a box of frogs

Post by Phil White » Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:06 pm

While walking back from visiting Mother in the care home this afternoon, the phrase "mad as a box of frogs" drifted through my mind. Not that I am suggesting that there is anything but a coincidental relationship between visiting Mother and the phrase popping into my head...

I distinctly remember the first time I heard this one a few years back. It was a report on TV about a 90-something year old doing a parachute jump, and it was her daughter who came up with the phrase. I immediately liked it and squirrelled it away, only for it to escape into my conscious mind today.

It appears that it is not a particularly old phrase. Most of the discussions about it seem to be from the early years of this decade, although Urban Dictionary does have an entry for it dating from 2003, if that date can be trusted.

Google's ngram viewer has no record of it whatsoever, but that is, of course, largely based on works that are out of copyright.

I don't reckon that the meaning or "origin" as such needs much explanation. It is a wonderfully vivid image, as is the similar "mad as a sack of ferrets". But it would be nice to find out where it was first used.

:frog:
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Re: Mad as a box of frogs

Post by trolley » Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:50 pm

Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and other former members of The Yardbirds reformed in the early 80s in a new group called Box of Frogs.
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Re: Mad as a box of frogs

Post by Phil White » Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:54 pm

Well that certainly pins down the "mad" bit of it...

That is news to me, though.
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Re: Mad as a box of frogs

Post by tony h » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:06 pm

trolley wrote:
Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:50 pm
Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and other former members of The Yardbirds reformed in the early 80s in a new group called Box of Frogs.
I wouldn't have known but for the interested : https://www.last.fm/music/Box+Of+Frogs

But the question remains: did they coin the phrase? I suspect that it must have existed before and that by naming themselves "Box of Frogs" the audience would automatically add the "Mad as".

Also just found this tantalising snippet on Google. "Musician - Issues 68-74 - Page 15

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=8KIJAQAAMAAJ

1984 - ‎Snippet view - ‎More editions
Since they didn't want to reprise Yardbirds oldies, they chose the name Box of Frogs (as in the insult, "You're so ugly you look like a..."). Beck didn't want to commit MTV faces iits,competition"
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With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

End of topic.
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