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[hey-wahyuh r] /ˈheɪˌwaɪər/
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.
Origin of haywire
1900-05; hay + wire Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for haywire
  • Property prices have gone haywire all around the world.
  • It was so sudden and profound that planetary chemical cycles went haywire for the next several million years.
  • We left off a few highly popular artificial life forms, and some short-circuited readers went haywire.
  • Other technicians, in a reinforced bunker to the north, stand ready to halt the countdown if anything goes haywire.
  • haywire is a vigorous spy thriller that consistently beckons the viewer to catch up with its narrative twists and turns.
  • haywire showtimes and ticket information by city or zip code.
  • His various recording devices could have been exposed or gone haywire and given him away.
  • During the same period crude oil prices went haywire, speculators have become the dominant players in the crude oil market.
British Dictionary definitions for haywire


adjective (postpositive) (informal)
(of things) not functioning properly; disorganized (esp in the phrase go haywire)
(of people) erratic or crazy
Word Origin
C20: alluding to the disorderly tangle of wire removed from bales of hay
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for haywire

"soft wire for binding bales of hay," by 1891, from hay + wire (n.). Adjective meaning "poorly equipped, makeshift" is 1905, American English, from the sense of something only held together with haywire, particularly said to be from use of the stuff in New England lumber camps for jury-rigging and makeshift purposes, so that hay wire outfit became the "contemptuous term for loggers with poor logging equipment" [Bryant, "Logging," 1913]. Its springy, uncontrollable quality led to the sense in go haywire (by 1915).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for haywire


  1. Functioning erratically; out of order; on the blink: This meter's haywire
  2. Makeshift; precariously operative: What sort of haywire gadget are you using for a pump?
  3. Crazy; confused; cockeyed: He never looked inside an almanac, and was sure that anyone who did was haywire (1905+ Loggers)
Related Terms

go haywire

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with haywire


see: go haywire
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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