commit suicide / go suicidal

  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "to commit suicide" to kill oneself

    "to be suicidal" to be in a state of mind where you are contemplating killing yourself

    "to go suicidal" I have never heard this term. Where you find it?
     

    Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    "to commit suicide" to kill oneself

    "to be suicidal" to be in a state of mind where you are contemplating killing yourself

    "to go suicidal" I have never heard this term. Where you find it?
    In the UK, as suicide is no longer against the law, technically people do not 'commit' suicide - they either 'kill themselves' or (less baldly) 'end their own life'. A 'successful' suicide is termed a completed suicide.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Well, 'suicidal' is a state of mind akin to being crazy/mad/mental, etc., so I suppose 'go suicidal' follows the same pattern, as people do 'go crazy/mental/mad, etc.' I had not heard it either, but it does not surprise me.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Well, 'suicidal' is a state of mind akin to being crazy/mad/mental, etc., so I suppose 'go suicidal' follows the same pattern, as people do 'go crazy/mental/mad, etc.' I had not heard it either, but it does not surprise me.
    As a native speaker it surprises me. It's not idiomatic. I suggest "to become suicidal"
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm not that surprised by it, for the reason put forward by boozer. I can't swear I hadn't heard it before. It's on a few websites (though as we always say, we don't know the background of a lot of the authors).
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    In the UK, as suicide is no longer against the law, technically people do not 'commit' suicide.
    No longer against the law? That's news to me. What about "assisted suicide"?

    Besides, just because something is not a crime doesn't mean it can't be the object of the verb 'commit'. Committing suicide is still very much in the current vocabulary.

    If a suicide is successful, then of course it is impossible to punish the perpetrator-victim (you cannot jail a corpse).
    Then there is the old joke about attempted suicide being a capital offence (i.e. a crime for which you could get the death sentence). Who says crime doesn't pay? ;)


    To the original question, the answer is no. To commit suicide is to end one's life. To "go suicidal" would mean to enter a frame of mind in which (for whatever reason) one rates one's own life at a lower value than some other objective one wants to achieve. A soldier might be described as heroic when he risks his life to save that of a colleague, but might also be described as suicidal, even though, of course, he doesn't actually want to die in the act. Someone might opt to become a suicide bomber; that could be described as "going suicidal", but here the objective isn't to commit suicide (it's merely an unavoidable side-effect), the aim is to serve a "higher purpose", typically by committing murder at the same time, but other examples of going suicidal might be self-immolation, where there are usually no other victims, and one does it only to make some sort of political statement.
     

    Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    No longer against the law? That's news to me. What about "assisted suicide"?

    Besides, just because something is not a crime doesn't mean it can't be the object of the verb 'commit'. Committing suicide is still very much in the current vocabulary.

    If a suicide is successful, then of course it is impossible to punish the perpetrator-victim (you cannot jail a corpse).
    Then there is the old joke about attempted suicide being a capital offence (i.e. a crime for which you could get the death sentence). Who says crime doesn't pay? ;)


    To the original question, the answer is no. To commit suicide is to end one's life. To "go suicidal" would mean to enter a frame of mind in which (for whatever reason) one rates one's own life at a lower value than some other objective one wants to achieve. A soldier might be described as heroic when he risks his life to save that of a colleague, but might also be described as suicidal, even though, of course, he doesn't actually want to die in the act. Someone might opt to become a suicide bomber; that could be described as "going suicidal", but here the objective isn't to commit suicide (it's merely an unavoidable side-effect), the aim is to serve a "higher purpose", typically by committing murder at the same time, but other examples of going suicidal might be self-immolation, where there are usually no other victims, and one does it only to make some sort of political statement.
    You are right, Edinburgher. I was writing too loosely. It is the attempt at suicide which used to be a criminal offence. Incidentally in the past the corpse could be 'punished' by being buried in 'unhallowed ground'. Of course assisting a suicide is quite another matter and is still (but perhaps not for much longer in all cases) an offence.
     

    Blade Runner

    Senior Member
    Catalan (València) & Spanish (Spain)
    Thanks everybody, I can't provide a valid context since I've just seen them in compositions written by non-native speakers of English. I've seen examples for "go suicidal" on the internet like: "drug causes stem cells to go suicidal".

    Anyway, thanks to yor explanations I can see the difference between both phrases now.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I agree with those who say 'go suicidal' is not idiomatic and is not to be recommended. The problem is, I think, that it is somewhat too light in tone for such a serious matter.
     

    dn88

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Well, 'suicidal' is a state of mind akin to being crazy/mad/mental, etc., so I suppose 'go suicidal' follows the same pattern, as people do 'go crazy/mental/mad, etc.' I had not heard it either, but it does not surprise me.
    It wouldn't surprise me, either—in the right context, that is. I wouldn't normally expect to hear it in a serious context, though, but I guess it's possible. As wandle points out, it seems too light in tone.

    Some examples from Google:

    My question is - is there a way to fix the V-Sync stuttering problem? If not, is there a way for me to limit the fps so my card won't go suicidal on me? SOURCE

    The mother answered and freaked out on me blaming me for being the reason he went suicidal, saying I brainwashed him, influenced him, and fabricated the idea of abuse and suicide into his head. SOURCE

    But don't go suicidal if a buyer comes through and bad-mouths your home. SOURCE

    Not so fast, buckaroo, keep that chin up and don't go all suicidal on me just yet. SOURCE
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Interesting examples. Three are not serious (they do not relate to a real situation of a potential suicidal person) and the fourth (which does) is reporting emotional language used under stress.
     
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