meaning of 'go haywire'


I wonder if the phrase ‘go haywire’ can be used for human (because in most examples given by my dictionaries, it is just used for machines…)

Many thanks,

Yes, it can.


He went haywire when I told him I’d scratched his precious little car.

Hi Nessie

Yes, it can be applied to humans too. I’d say the most typical usage would be to indicate that the way something is functioning or behaving is not logical/usual/controled. Haywire behavior is confused and erratic.

By the way, I don’t recommend using the word “scratted” in everyday speech. If you would like to be understood by most people, the word “scratched” would be a much better choice. If you used the word “scratted” in a conversation with someone in my neck of the woods, they’d probably look at you a bit quizzically and assume that your vocabulary and/or pronunciation had gone a little haywire. :wink:

I would have said that “scrat” usually implies “scratch with fingernails or claws” (where it doesn’t relate to cider-making or speckled paper).


Making room for typos happens when a member of one’s flock makes them. right?

That was a typo, was it? Don’t you think that typing a “T” instead of “CH” is a rather unlikely sort of typo? :wink:

Wow, whatever next? Now Amy’s gone all prescriptive on typos. Amy, it was a typo.

I see.