fly off the handle

Idioms & Phrases

fly off the handle

Lose one's temper, as in Tom flies off the handle at the slightest setback. This metaphoric expression alludes to the loosened head of a hammer flying off after a blow. [Early 1800s]

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