also loonie, looney, luny, "crazy; silly and eccentric," 1853, American English, short for lunatic, but also influenced by loon (n.2) and perhaps loon (n.1), the bird being noted for its wild cry and method of escaping from danger. As a noun by 1884, from the adjective.
Slang loony bin "insane asylum" is by 1909. Looney left in reference to holders of political views felt to be left-wing in the extreme is from 1977. Looney Tunes, Warner Bros. studios' animated cartoon series, dates from 1930.
also embergoose, "loon," 1744, from Norwegian emmer-gaas, perhaps so called from its appearing on the coast in the ember-days before Christmas.
"one who or that which dives," c. 1500 (the sense seems to be "rope-dancer"), mid-13c. as a surname; agent noun from dive (v.). As a type of bird that dives (especially a loon) from c. 1500.
Also from mid-14c., "a pledge, guarantee, surety" (usually in plural), and (c. 1400) "a promise or pledge to meet in battle." The "payment for service" sense by late 14c. extended to allotments of money paid at regular intervals for continuous or repeated service. Traditionally in English wages were payment for manual or mechanical labor and somewhat distinguished from salary or fee. Modern French cognate gages (plural) means "wages of a domestic," one of a range of French "pay" words distinguished by class, such as traitement (university professor), paye, salaire (workman), solde (soldier), récompense, prix. The Old English word was lean, related to loan and representing the usual Germanic word (Gothic laun, Dutch loon, German Lohn). Wage-earner attested from 1871.