haywire

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adverb or adjective hay·wire \ ˈhā-ˌwī(-ə)r \

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

haywire was our Word of the Day on 06/17/2017. Hear the podcast!

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.

Origin and Etymology of haywire

from the use of baling wire for makeshift repairs


HAYWIRE Defined for English Language Learners

haywire

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adjective

Definition of haywire for English Language Learners

  • : not working properly


HAYWIRE Defined for Kids

haywire

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adjective hay·wire \ ˈhā-ˌwīr \

Definition of haywire for Students

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.


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of yeast or being unsettled or frivolous

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