GIDDY: frivolous and lighthearted; impulsive; flighty


I’m going to start right out with the narrative which accompanied this photo.  It’s by a mother of the little girl:

…My small girl’s face the first day I was home when I told her I wasn’t going to work all day.  I promised I wouldn’t even open my computer. Her joy was palpable. She danced and giggled. I swear she actually levitated: the thought of my undivided attention made her lighter….”

What could better describe the word for today’s post, giddy.  It is the kind of joy that comes from deep, down inside someone.   It is stimulated by the excess of joy which dwells there.  It cannot be programmed.  It’s more than a stand-up comedian’s humor.  Even a cartoon on TV or a slap-stick joke in a movie.  Giddy is pure, unadulterated happiness which cannot be contained; it just boils over into a face that smiles, a voice that almost cackles, and response that brings tears to the eyes of a parent.

It was fun to read in the site that there is something divine about the origin of giddy.  Middle English authors indicated that gidig, the Old English word,

…(meant)  mad (as variant of *gydig), derivative of god God, presumably orig. “possessed by a divine being….”

Similarly, the site,, picks up on a similar theme, putting into context with a contemporary interpretation.

The hackneyed phrase “giddy as a schoolgirl” calls forth the image of a kid giggling with her friends over some adolescent foolishness. Giddy has been used to describe someone incapable of serious thought or easily excited as far back as the sixteenth century. Given that, in modern usage, giddy describes someone silly and frivolous, it’s interesting to know that the Old English source for this word has a slightly darker tinge: gidig means “insane” or “god-possessed.”

Well, as this quote mentions, today’s use of the word is hardly “dark.”

We were sitting in Starbucks a couple of weeks ago with an attractive young family sitting at the next table.  Their son, probably about 3 years old, was doing something that amazes me every time I see it.  He had a  mini-electronic device on which he was watching an animated movie.  He knew exactly how to operate it, and he was totally invested in the movie.  We didn’t exist.  Every now and then he would erupt in absolute joy, giggling, slapping the table, and uttering the words, “It’s so funny!” between the syllables of laughter.  We found ourselves laughing just as joyfully, unable to restrain ourselves.  His laughter was infectious, and soon we were all very, very giddy.

I suppose there are circumstances when, at times, a giddy person is irritating.  Someone who has had too much to drink, for instance, can get laughing uncontrollably and absolutely destroy the people at the same table.  And there are people who are just plain giddy about everything, probably even laughing at the obituaries in the newspaper. It’s hard to enjoy that person for very long.

But for the most part, I prefer to remember little children who just can’t control themselves.   Their unrestrained, giddy laughter is medicine for a grouchy adult day.


Photo Credit:  Danielle Smith

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