I know that the phrase “go berserk” means “go crazy.” I know that it means more than going crazy. It might involve spastic movements or running all over the place. I remember my mom telling me that when she tried to use flea spray on the first dog that was really mine, Marbles, that he want berserk. I never saw him do this with the flea spray, but he never liked spray. We figured that somebody abused him with spray, so he didn’t like it. While I had adopted him at six months of age, he had small signs that seemed to show he was abused. There was a scar on him that looked like somebody had purposely poked him with a barbecue fork. I always felt sad for him when I saw that, but happy that he was my dog. I know he had a happy life with us.
I did see a few other times when he went berserk. Marbles didn’t like fire. One time, he was in the kitchen with me and I was trying to cook. Some oil caught on fire and I and my mom had to put it out by putting a pan over it. However, the entire time, Marbles was flailing and trying to hide.
It is obvious that I am familiar with the term, “go berserk,” as are many other people. However, I do not know the origin of the phrase.
The origin of the phrase “go berserk” is of a Norse Viking origin.
It is believed that the word “Berserker” was applied to a great warrior. Berserkers were known to have great courage and great strength. They fought with wild ferocity.
The Berserkers had their own fighting style. They believed that they took on the spirit of bears. When they would fight, they would look like bears fighting. They would even foam a the mouth.
This is the most widely accepted story.
It is also believed that Vikings should go into battle without their fur coats (sarks), thus they should go into battle “bare sark.”
While this happened in the 12th century, the phrase “go berserk” didn’t come into common use until the 20th century. Usually this would be very odd.
However, the use of the phrase happened in the early twentieth century. Sir Walter Scott published a history of the Vikings that mentions the Berserkers in the late 19th century. Because of the history being published, the time that the phrase “go berserk,” being in the vernacular long after the first use of the word “Berserker” makes perfect sense.
Martin, G. (n.d.). Go berserk. The meanings and origins of sayings and phrases | List of sayings | English sayings | Idiom definitions | Idiom examples | Idiom origins | List of idioms | Idiom dictionary | Meaning of idioms. Retrieved July 20, 2010, from http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/go-berserk.html