out of control

Idioms & Phrases

out of control

Also, out of hand. No longer under management, direction, or regulation; unmanageable or unruly. For example, Housing costs are out of control, or The children were getting out of hand again. The first term uses control in the sense of "restraint," a usage dating from the late 1500s; the variant uses hand in the sense of "power" or "authority," and dates from the late 1800s.

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