What is the correct interpretation of “Crazy Rich Asians”?

There is more than one way to interpret the title of the hit film “Crazy Rich Asians.” In the film it is suggested that “crazy rich” means “impossibly rich,” but as written it could also mean crazy (rich Asians)? The ambiguity is no doubt intentional, but how would you construct the two interpretations to make them unambiguous?


The answer is to change the adjective, the term crazy is ambiguous and polysemous, it is often used to intensify emotions and activities e.g. “crazy in love”, “crazy about Thai food”, “football-crazy”, and “crazy golf”.

Speakers wanting to avoid ambiguity, will select different adjectives.

  • Extremely rich Asians (very wealthy)
  • Insane (not insanely) rich Asians (mentally unwell or unstable)

Janus Bahs Jacquet, in the comments below, has offered a smart solution

  • Crazy-rich Asians (the hyphenated compound means incredibly wealthy)
  • Crazy, rich Asians

separating the two adjectives with a comma or a conjunction (and) prevents crazy from modifying rich. Hence the phrase can literally mean Asians who are either madcap (and its derivatives: eccentric, weird, odd, etc.) or insane (mentally unstable) and wealthy)

Source : Link , Question Author : Zan700 , Answer Author : Mari-Lou A

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