Go haywire

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To go haywire is an American idiom. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the meaning of to go haywire, where the term came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

To go haywire means to go out of control, to go berserk. The idiom to go haywire is an allusion to the wire used in baling hay, known as haywire or baling wire. If the baler doesn’t work properly or the baling wire snaps while in the process of baling, it will tangle into a hopeless mess. Haywire is thin and meant to be easily cut in order to release hay to feed livestock. At the turn of the twentieth century a haywire outfit was a an operation that was a patchwork, unreliable affair. This term has for the most part died out, The phrase to go haywire came into the language around the 1920s and remains fairly popular, today. Related terms are goes haywire, went haywire and going haywire.


All sorts of amusement and chaos take place, but toward the movie’s end, Grandpa finds himself in trouble with the law — for making unlicensed fireworks and disturbing the peace when the fireworks go haywire. (The Oxford Eagle)

In a rare year when everything went bizarrely haywire at the last minute, triggering memories of Steve Harvey’s 2015 Miss Universe flub, as well as flashbacks to the recent historic upset in the presidential election, one statistical trend held steady: Not since Hilary Swank won the Oscar for “Million Dollar Baby” in 2005 have the awards for lead actress and best picture gone to the same movie. (The Los Angeles Times)

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