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 03/15/2010. 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
First Known Use: 1905
HAYWIRE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of haywire for English Language Learners
: not working properly
HAYWIRE Defined for Kids
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