haywire

hay·wire (hā’wīr′)
n. Wire used in baling hay.
adj. Informal 1) Not functioning or happening in a proper or orderly fashion: »

machinery that went haywire; an experiment that went haywire.

2) Mentally confused or erratic; crazy: »

The traveler went haywire over the endless delays.

[From the use of baling wire for makeshift repairs .]
Word History: Why should wire used in baling hay be a metaphor for something that is not functioning properly or for a person who is crazy? It would seem a story of semantics gone haywire. From the written record, it appears the use originated among North American loggers around 1900, who often used haywire to make repairs. These repairs were often considered shoddy or unreliable, and haywire developed the general sense "makeshift, inefficient," from which come the extended senses "not functioning properly" and "crazy."

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • haywire — ☆ haywire or go haywire [hā′wīr΄ ] n. wire for tying up bales of hay, straw, etc. adj. [prob. < haywire outfit, loggers term for a camp with poor equipment that had to be held together with haywire] Informal 1. out of order; disorganized;… …   English World dictionary

  • Haywire — Скриншот Haywire Haywire мод Half Life с видом от третьего лица. Обычный для Half Life вид от первого лица изменён на вид сбоку. Мод имеет жанр аркады. Сюжет Хакер под ником Xgov запускает в компьютер …   Википедия

  • haywire — (n.) soft wire for binding bales of hay, by 1891, from HAY (Cf. hay) + WIRE (Cf. wire) (n.). Adjective meaning poorly equipped, makeshift is 1905, American English, from the sense of something only held together with haywire, particularly said to …   Etymology dictionary

  • haywire — [adj] broken; crazy amiss, amok, batty, berserk, bonkers*, chaotic, confused, cracked, crazed, defective, disordered, disorganized, erratic, flipped, in a mess*, in pieces, insane, mad, messy, nuts, orderless, out of order, out of whack*, out to… …   New thesaurus

  • haywire — ► ADJECTIVE informal ▪ erratic; out of control. ORIGIN from HAY(Cf. ↑haying) + WIRE(Cf. ↑wire), from the use of hay baling wire in makeshift repairs …   English terms dictionary

  • Haywire — Infobox musical artist | Name = Haywire Img capt = Img size = Background = group or band Birth name = Alias = Born = Died = Origin = Charlottetown, PEI, Canada flagicon|Canada Instrument = Genre = AOR/Hard rock Occupation = Years active =… …   Wikipedia

  • haywire — /hay wuyeur /, n. 1. wire used to bind bales of hay. adj. Informal. 2. in disorder: The town is haywire because of the bus strike. 3. out of control; disordered; crazy: The car went haywire. He s been haywire since he got the bad news. [1900 05;… …   Universalium

  • haywire — [“hewair] 1. mod. out of order. (Folksy.) □ This telephone has gone haywire. □ My stereo is haywire, so I’ve been listening to the radio. 2. mod. disoriented. (Often from marijuana.) □ Wally is sort of hay wire from the grass …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • haywire — adverb or adjective Etymology: from the use of baling wire for makeshift repairs Date: 1929 1. being out of order or having gone wrong < the radio went haywire > 2. emotionally or mentally upset or out of control ; crazy < is going haywire with… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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