hay wire


wire used to bind bales of hay.
adjective Informal.
in disorder: The town is haywire because of the bus strike.
out of control; disordered; crazy: The car went haywire. He's been haywire since he got the bad news.

1900–05; hay + wire

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World English Dictionary
haywire (ˈheɪˌwaɪə)
1.  (of things) not functioning properly; disorganized (esp in the phrase go haywire)
2.  (of people) erratic or crazy
[C20: alluding to the disorderly tangle of wire removed from bales of hay]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"poorly equipped, makeshift," 1905, Amer.Eng., lit. "soft wire for binding bales of hay," from hay + wire. The extended sense being of something only held together with this, particularly said to be from use in New England lumber camps for jerry-rigging and makeshift purposes, so that haywire outfit
became the term for a logging camp chronically ill-equipped and short on suplies. Its springy, uncontrollable quality led to the sense in go haywire (1929).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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