I’ve been thinking on and off for the last couple of days about what the Word for today should be and I’ve been stumped! So I turned to last week’s Word Wednesday and found “method to my madness” (I’m so glad I used that expression or I’d still be sitting here an hour from now staring at a blank screen).
Wow!! This is the first time I’ve found this many sources!
From The Phrase Finder:
From Shakespeare’s Hamlet, 1602. The actual line from the play is ‘Though this be madness yet there is method in it‘.
From The Idiom Site:
Strange or crazy actions that appear meaningless but in the end are done for a good reason.
an assertion that, despite one’s approach seeming random, there actually is structure to it.
to have a good reason for what you are doing, although you seem to be behaving strangely
“Method” is the careful, systematic way that something intelligent is done. “Madness” is the strange, meaningless action of a crazy person. There is “method to one’s madness” when what looks like strange and meaningless action (madness) is actually the result of a carefully reasoned plan (method).
Example: “Give me a moment to explain; there is method to my madness.”
[This idiom comes from Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Polonius speaking: “Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.”]
Example: “We thought he was crazy to do it that way, but it turned out that there was method to his madness.”
(Note: Americans usually say “method to one’s madness” while British say “method in one’s madness.” Both are fine to use.) (I say “method TO my madness” so here’s an example of when Canadians use the American lingo, rather than the British – I am, of course, the finest example of Canadianism you’ll ever find)
I’m ashamed to admit I did not realize the phrase was Shakespearean in origin and I read Hamlet in high school!! My high school teacher will be crushed!! Of course, I can’t remember his name either so I guess he’ll never know.