Behaving erratically or uncontrollably, especially of a machine or mechanical process; usually used with the verb "go".
Other Word Forms of Haywire
Idioms, Phrasal Verbs Related to Haywire
- go haywire
Origin of Haywire
hay + wire To go haywire possibly originally referred to the tendency of wire spooled under tension and used in the baling of hay to spring into an unmanageable tangle once a piece had been removed from the factory spool, e.g., "he took off the back of his watch, removed a gear and the whole works went haywire." Or a tendency of slap-dash repairs done with scraps of baling wire to fail catastrophically at times of mechanical stress. Perhaps the meaning of haywire – all in disarray or disrepair – stems from this expression.
From the use of baling wire for makeshift repairs
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
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