Go haywire


      • malfunction or go out of control
        Referring to a machine or system that has stopped working properly or is behaving erratically.

      • become chaotic or disorganized
        Describing a situation or event that has become disorderly, chaotic, or unpredictable.

    Examples of Go haywire

    • The fire alarm suddenly started beeping loudly, and the sprinkler system went haywire, causing water to spray all over the room.

      In this example, "went haywire" means that the sprinkler system malfunctioned and started operating uncontrollably, causing water to spray randomly.

    • The computer system crashed and went haywire, resulting in the loss of important data and disrupting our business operations for several days.

      "Went haywire" refers to the computer system malfunctioning and behaving unpredictably, causing substantial damage and inconvenience.

    • After I accidentally spilled coffee all over my keyboard, my laptop's functioning went haywire, and I had to take it to be repaired.

      Here, "went haywire" indicates that the laptop's performance became unstable and erratic following the spillage, causing it to cease functioning properly.

    • The machine seemed to go haywire as soon as I turned it on, making loud noises and displaying strange messages on the screen.

      "Went haywire" in this context implies that the machine started behaving abnormally, with undesired and unexpected outcomes, indicating potential malfunctions.

    • The alarm system in the bank suddenly started beeping loudly and flashing red lights, causing everyone to panic and resulting in chaos. The security guard tried to fix it, but it seemed to be going haywire.

      "Go haywire" refers to something malfunctioning or behaving in an unpredictable or erratic way. In this example, the alarm system went haywire, causing confusion and chaos. It can also refer to a person's behavior, such as when they become overly excited or anxious and act in an uncharacteristic or volatile manner.


    The idiom "go haywire" is commonly used to describe a situation or event that has become chaotic or disorganized, or to refer to a machine or system that has stopped functioning properly. It can also be used to express frustration or annoyance with something that is not going as planned or expected.

    In the first meaning, the idiom is often used in a literal sense to describe a malfunctioning machine or system. For example, if a computer suddenly shuts down or a car starts making strange noises, one might say that it has "gone haywire." This usage can also be extended to non-physical objects, such as a plan or project that is not going according to plan.

    The second meaning of the idiom is more figurative and is often used to describe a chaotic or disorganized situation. This can refer to a physical space, such as a messy room or an overcrowded event, or to a situation that has become unpredictable or difficult to manage. It can also be used to express frustration or annoyance with something that is not going as planned or expected.

    Origin of "Go haywire"

    The origin of the idiom "go haywire" is unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the early 20th century in the United States. Some theories suggest that it may have originated from the word "haw" which means to turn or spin, possibly referring to a machine or system going out of control. Others believe it may have originated from the word "heirwire" which was used to describe the tangled wires of telephone lines.

    The idiom became popularized in the 1920s and 1930s, during a time when technology and machinery were advancing rapidly and often malfunctioned. As such, the phrase "go haywire" became a commonly used expression to describe a machine or system that had gone out of control or stopped working properly.

    Today, the idiom is still commonly used in both literal and figurative senses, and its origins continue to be debated among linguists and etymologists.