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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    circus!

    When someone behaves in a pretty ridiculous fashion, we Russians might exclaim "Circus!" or "What a circus!" having in mind certain behaviour associated with the behaviour rather than the place itself. Are there expressions in English conveying the idea? I think I've heard somewhere "clown" used in this way, but I'm not sure.
    Last edited by GeneD; 23-Mar-2019 at 18:48.
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

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    #2

    Re: circus!

    "What a clown!" would work, but not just "Clown!" on its own.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: circus!

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneD View Post

    Are there expressions in English conveying the idea?


    NOT A TEACHER

    Hello, Gene:

    When you get some extra time, I suggest that you google "Bozo the Clown." He was a fictional character created in the United States during the 1940s.

    I do not know how many younger people today know that word, but if you call someone a "bozo," you are implying that s/he is stupid or foolish. Something like a "jerk."

    I went to the "Books" section of Google (where thousands of books have been digitalized for us) and found many, many examples. Here is just one that may give you the flavor of its use:

    "You bozo, I offered to help you and took you in to save your stupid skin, and look what you've done."

    Source: John R. Erickson, The Case of the Vampire Cat (1998), page 80.


    Best wishes

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    #4

    Re: circus!

    Thanks, Parser. I like the word "bozo" especially because there was a character carrying this name. Interestingly enough, the word may be even older than the character of Bozo the Clown. I looked it up in a couple of dictionaries, and this dictionary says that the origin is unknown and the usage of it was even in the 1920s. I got curious and looked at the Ngram graphics and it looks that in the 20s the word only revived, but existed even in the 1800s!
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

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    #5

    Re: circus!

    I wanted to correct a mistake in the 1 post, but the "Edit" button mysteriously disappeared. Is it a new policy of the forum? I can't remember I had such a problem in the past...
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

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    #6

    Re: circus!

    You now have only 24 hours to edit your posts.

    There's nothing to stop you re-sending a post with the necessary changes made, and a brief note to say that you have done so.

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    #7

    Re: circus!

    I believe "doofus" is a currently popular slang word for this athough, at my advanced age, I won't be surprised to learn that doofus has already faded from use or changed its meaning. Online dictionaries say a doofus is a stupid person, but I think it tends to be used when a person is displaying his stupidity in his behaviour.

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    #8

    Re: circus!

    I agree 'bozo' is less common, but it's still in use. It's a useful euphemism when you want to avoid more inflammatory terms like 'moron' or 'idiot'. I file it under my "child-safe-vocabulary-I-can-utter-in-the-presence-of-young-ears" mental file. It's handy in situations when you want to call somebody a 'dumbass', but there are children listening.

    You could refer to a situation as a 'circus', meaning it's somewhat chaotic or noisy, or something that has devolved from a controlled or important situation into an uncontrolled or showboat situation. This carries a disparaging connotation.

    If I walked into a classroom of screaming kids, I might say ' What a circus!" Sometimes you'll hear various political situations or events referred to having 'turned into a circus'.

    Also, we have a 'dog and pony show' - something done elaborately as a kind of promotional event - especially if it's overly theatrical or deliberately overdone. Usually though, this was a deliberate action right from the start, whereas something that has turned into a circus started out as legitimate, but has spun out of control.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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    #9

    Re: circus!

    To describe a chaotic situation "what a circus" is fine but "what a zoo" is more common around here (Canada).

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    #10

    Re: circus!

    Quote Originally Posted by Skrej View Post
    I agree 'bozo' is less common, but it's still in use. It's a useful euphemism when you want to avoid more inflammatory terms like 'moron' or 'idiot'. I file it under my "child-safe-vocabulary-I-can-utter-in-the-presence-of-young-ears" mental file. It's handy in situations when you want to call somebody a 'dumbass', but there are children listening.
    For some reason, it didn't occur to me that the word could be used as a euphemism. Thanks for the advice.

    You could refer to a situation as a 'circus', meaning it's somewhat chaotic or noisy, or something that has devolved from a controlled or important situation into an uncontrolled or showboat situation. This carries a disparaging connotation.

    If I walked into a classroom of screaming kids, I might say ' What a circus!" Sometimes you'll hear various political situations or events referred to having 'turned into a circus'.
    That's what I had in mind asking the question, but couldn't explain properly. The expression appears to mean practically the same in Russian and English, which is always pleasant, I must say.

    Do you think propaganda spreading could be called "dog and pony show"?
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

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