> > Even the more or less literal translation "bei dem ist eine Schraube > > locker" would work. But all these, including the direct "der spinnt", just > > imply some malfunction of the brain. A "Spinner", however, has a working > > brain producing lots of ideas - weird ones -, which would not work without > > a fair amount of intelligence, albeit non-standard. > > "Er ist ein Spinner" , "Der spinnt" - as far as usage is concerned > I don't see the difference between them. These are the > common, general ways of saying someone is mad or crazy. > The idea of producing a lot of weird ideas is more closely > associated with a "fantasist" or "confabulist". I think a crank is > usually a > monomaniac. > > Wahrig, Spinner: Jemand , der spinnt, der dummes Zeug redet oder > nicht ernst zu nehmenede Dinge redet.
When I wrote that I see a somewhat different emphasis between the verb and the noun, I judged from my feel for language, not from dictionaries. To check that, I looked up the translations in a dictionary (Langenscheidt, 2001) and found:
spinnen (this meaning): be mad (or: nuts, crazy, off one's nut), talk rubbish (rot)
Spinner (this meaning): crackpot, screwball
To me, the choice of English equivalents seems to imply the same slight shift in emphasis I tried to explain. But again, my mastery of such fine distinctions in English is scant.