Fly off the handle


      • Suddenly become very angry or lose one's temper
        To describe someone who reacts to a situation with excessive anger or rage, often without warning or control

      • React impulsively or irrationally
        To suggest that someone is acting without thinking things through or considering the consequences of their actions, often resulting in a negative outcome

    Examples of Fly off the handle

    • After her husband forgot their anniversary for the third time in a row, she flew off the handle and stormed out of the house.

      This idiom means to suddenly become extremely angry and lose control of one's emotions. It's as if the person's anger has caused them to lose their balance and fly away like a handle on a door that's been pulled off.

    • The coach flew off the handle when the team lost the game, yelling and throwing equipment around the locker room.

      In this example, the coach's anger was so intense that it caused him to lose his composure and behave in an uncontrolled and irrational way.

    • I tried to explain my point of view, but she flew off the handle and refused to listen.

      This idiom can also be used to describe a situation where someone becomes so angry that they become unwilling or unable to listen to reason.

    • The teacher flew off the handle when the student talked back in class, sending him to the principal's office.

      In this example, the teacher's anger was so extreme that it led to disciplinary action being taken against the student.

    • The boss flew off the handle when he found out that the project was behind schedule, demanding answers from his team.

      This idiom can also be used to describe a situation where someone becomes angry because of a perceived failure or setback. In this example, the boss's anger was caused by the fact that the project was not progressing as quickly as he had expected.


    The idiom "fly off the handle" is commonly used to describe someone who becomes very angry or loses their temper suddenly and without warning. It can also be used to refer to someone who acts impulsively or irrationally, often resulting in negative consequences.

    The phrase is often used to caution against reacting with excessive anger or impulsivity, as it can lead to negative outcomes or regretful actions. It can also be used to describe someone who has a tendency to react in this way, indicating their lack of control or emotional stability.

    Origin of "Fly off the handle"

    The origin of this idiom is unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the 19th century. One theory suggests that it may have derived from the idea of a loose axe head flying off the handle and causing harm, similar to someone losing control and causing harm with their words or actions.

    Another theory suggests that it may have originated from the image of a horse suddenly and violently bucking its rider off its back. This could be seen as a metaphor for someone losing control of their emotions.

    Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom "fly off the handle" has become a commonly used phrase in the English language to describe someone's sudden and uncontrollable outburst of anger or impulsivity.