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Flip one’s lid vs. flip one’s wig

To flip one’s lid and flip one’s wig mean to suddenly lose control of yourself or your emotions, either in anger or excitement. The phrases are rarely used in the plural, but the generally accepted forms are flip their lids and flip their wigs. The verb flip is used in all its conjugations.

Flipping your wig is more commonly found in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, it is not an old phrase, but was born in North America. The Oxford English Dictionary has the first print appearance listed in 1952.


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Examples

Momma Dee flips her wig until it’s revealed it was only a promise ring. [Urban Daily]

 Gunpei Yoiko would be flipping his wig if he had the opportunity to see the 3DS! [GameFAQs]

Have you flipped your wig?! [News.com.au]

City teachers union president Michael Mulgrew flipped his lid at a national union gathering last month while defending Common Core — at one point pugnaciously threatening those who oppose it that he would “punch you in the face and push you in the dirt.” [New York Post]

AshLee flips her lid and starts crying and cursing at Graham as well as all the other women. [TIME]

While O’Connor’s foreshadowing of doom comes in the form of a backwards grandmother flipping her lid over a tabloid’s coverage of a highway serial killer, McGowan’s is far more sinister — Dawn, a sheltered teen eager for romance, reads articles in Tattler about the importance of being an “easygoing gal” and always saying yes. [The Cornell Daily Sun]

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