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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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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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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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see go haywire.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
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.
Idioms & Phrases
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