hay·​wire | \ ˈhā-ˌwī(-ə)r How to pronounce haywire (audio) \

Definition of haywire

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 grief

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for haywire

Synonyms

balmy, barmy [chiefly British], bats, batty, bedlam, bonkers, brainsick, bughouse [slang], certifiable, crackbrained, cracked, crackers, crackpot, cranky [dialect], crazed, crazy, cuckoo, daffy, daft, demented, deranged, fruity [slang], gaga, insane, kooky (also kookie), loco [slang], loony (also looney), loony tunes (or looney tunes), lunatic, mad, maniacal (also maniac), mental, meshuga (or meshugge), moonstruck, non compos mentis, nuts, nutty, psycho, psychotic, scatty [chiefly British], screwy, unbalanced, unhinged, unsound, wacko (also whacko), wacky (also whacky), wud [chiefly Scottish]

Antonyms

balanced, compos mentis, sane, sound, uncrazy

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

The wire used in baling hay - haywire - is often used in makeshift repairs. This hurried and temporary use of haywire gave rise to the adjective haywire. When the adjective was first used in the early 20th century, it was primarily found in the phrase haywire outfit, which originally denoted a poorly equipped group of loggers and then anything that was flimsy or patched together. This led to a "hastily patched-up" sense, which, in turn, gave us the more commonly used meaning, "being out of order or having gone wrong." The "crazy" sense of haywire may have been suggested by the difficulty of handling the springy wire, its tendency to get tangled around legs, or the disorderly appearance of the temporary repair jobs for which it was used.

Examples of haywire in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Pass rusher is an obvious need for Seattle, especially if anything goes haywire in the contract talks with Frank Clark. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Why Mel Kiper Jr. thinks Jachai Polite is a good fit for the Seahawks," 19 Feb. 2019 Yet this debate has taken all that to a new level, and making what is left of the conventional political system go haywire in the process. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "The New Kind of Fury Unleashed by the Kavanaugh Fight," 27 Sep. 2018 Back during the total solar eclipse last August, Marie Claire reported that many women noticed their period cycles going haywire around the time of the eclipse. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "What to Know About Your Period During the Super Wolf Blood Moon," 15 Jan. 2019 Ironically, the gene therapies that were used before CRISPR had a higher risk of going haywire. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "Legal vs. Illegal Gene Editing: Here's What's Banned, and Why," 4 Dec. 2018 The past few months have brought a hurricane of horror stories about social media sites gone haywire. Carlos Maza, Vox, "Why every social media site is a dumpster fire," 21 Sep. 2018 On top of hormones going haywire, hot flashes can disrupt your sleep, delivering another blow. Sarah Richards, Woman's Day, "Quiet Your Mind in Anxious Times With These Expert Tricks," 14 Aug. 2018 Birth control taken continuously, meaning no sugar pills during your period, can really make your hormones haywire. Sarah Hosseini, Good Housekeeping, "Just Because You Can't See My Endometriosis Doesn't Mean It's Not There," 12 Mar. 2016 Three years have also passed in the film, and the damage wrought in that movie is still being cleaned up — $800 million has been paid out to patrons unlucky enough to have been in attendance when things went haywire. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' gets off the island," 20 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'haywire.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of haywire

1905, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for haywire

from the use of baling wire for makeshift repairs

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about haywire

Listen to Our Podcast about haywire

Dictionary Entries near haywire

hay-tallet

hay-time

Hayward

haywire

haz

hazan

hazanic

Statistics for haywire

Last Updated

5 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for haywire

The first known use of haywire was in 1905

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for haywire

haywire

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of haywire

informal : not working properly

haywire

adjective
hay·​wire | \ ˈhā-ˌwīr How to pronounce haywire (audio) \

Kids Definition of haywire

1 : working badly or in an odd way The TV went haywire.
2 : emotionally or mentally out of control : crazy After losing, she went haywire.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on haywire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with haywire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for haywire

Spanish Central: Translation of haywire

Nglish: Translation of haywire for Spanish Speakers

Comments on haywire

What made you want to look up haywire? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!