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    #1

    has gone haywire

    Dear teachers,

    From the very beginning of the reading my today's post, I read a sentence, which contained an interesting for me expression, namely "has gone haywire."

    "I'm creature of habit and routine, so when X changed my routine this morning the rest of the day has gone haywire."

    By the further reading I have got the meaning of the phrase "has gone haywire", namely "not functioning properly, mentally confused or erratic, crazy."

    From the other hand, I know the meaning of the word "haywire", namely , as a noun, "wire used to bind bales of hay", and as a adjective, "in disorder, as in "The town is haywire because of the bus strike"., and "out of control, disordered, crazy" as in "The car went haywire. He's been haywire since he got the bad news.".


    Could you please explain to me why should the word for something as functional and mundane as haywire have some to be applied to something that is not functioning properly , or to a person who is crazy?

    Thank you in advance for your efforts.

    Regards.

    V.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #2

    Re: has gone haywire


    Haywire = "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 of to go haywire

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Bulgarian
      • Home Country:
      • Bulgaria
      • Current Location:
      • Bulgaria

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,000
    #3

    Re: has gone haywire

    Hi Anglika,

    Thank you for your thorough explanatory note. Thank you for your unique dexterity to interpret even the most intricate questions.

    Your last explanation note concerning the "intangible" meaning of the expression "to go haywire" made its mark in the world. Thank you for the subsidiary terms as "jerry-rigging" and " makeshift purposes", "haywire outfit", "springy" as well as "uncontrollable".

    Owing to you, I have learned from the old lumberjack workers' song the new interpretation of the term "haywire", namely " haywire" is used to fix broken vehicles, machinery, etc. and thus by extension a "haywire outfit" is one that barely held together, also "gyppo" ("tinker"). Now I know that"jerry build" means "to build shoddy, flimsily, and cheaply" and "jury rig" means "to rig or assemble for temporary emergency use, improvise."

    Thank you again.

    Regards.

    V.

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